September 3, 2009

NYPA Chronicles: Welcome To The Unqualified Mr. Fournier

Let’s get this out of the way. Places like NYPA are always going to have the fair share of patronage. The practice is as old as time itself. However, Richie Kessel’s NYPA seems to be taking that to the extreme. The number of people being stuffed into security guard, janitorial and tour guide jobs (especially considering the state has a hiring freeze, I believe, though I could be wrong) has been unbelievable.

Now the thing with patronage is you try to keep it low profile and put people in jobs who are actually qualified. Well, that’s what most people do, but Richie Kessel’s NYPA is all about winning over gullible local politicians who are willing to sell their souls, keep their mouths shut and attend every Kessell press conference in the hope that maybe he’ll throw a few scraps their way.

Which brings us to the latest bone that Kessell has thrown to a local – the hiring of the Niagara Falls City Councilman Steve Fournier to work at the Niagara Power Project. Where to begin with this one.

You might remember Fournier is the Councilman who got loaded one night, get into a minor brouhaha and started dropping some N-bombs all over the place. As is the course for these politicos, he apologize, pled out and promised to go meet with the local chapter of the NAACP about what prompted him to drop the N-bomb in the first place.

Problem is that Fournier blew off the NAACP twice, skipping the scheduled meetings. That tells you all you need to know about his character. Now, the vice Chair of the Niagara Falls NAACP is Shirley Hamilton. Ms. Hamilton, who we have a growing fondness for, is also a union muckety muck over at NYPA.

So, sources have told us that Ms. Hamilton and other African American employees are off the wall angry that Fournier has been given this plumb gig.

Secondly, Fournier was supposed to be a security guard or janitor but couldn’t pass the friggin test so the shoe horned him into the tour guide job. Now, the only reason we know this part is because Fournier himself walked around the Niagara Power Project yesterday telling everyone about his inability to pass the test. (Note to Steve: best not to tell people you ain’t all that smart, though I’m sure they’d figure it out soon enough.)

Third, the City of Niagara Falls and the NYPA have a contractual relationship through the relicensing process. There are times when the Council and NYPA are adversaries, there are times when the City is looking to NYPA for cash for projects, etc. So, given this, tell me how this isn’t one big fat conflict of interest for Fournier to be working on NYPA’s payroll.

Last, Fournier himself said he couldn’t pass a test. So, clearly he wasn’t hired on the merits. As such, the public has a right to know who made calls on Fournier’s behalf to get him this sweet gig that we hear pays close to $30 bucks an hour (though we haven’t verified that yet.) Did Dyster help his Council ally? Did DelMonte make calls? Given the racial implications, we can’t believe Senator Thompson would be involved, but he has been king of getting people in at NYPA. And when we find out who, the next question is why?


Barney said...

My understanding is that Senator Thompson and Assemblywomen Delmonte are in charge of the NYPA job list. I wonder why they are taking care of a big looser like him.

This is just another example of why Francine is out of touch with the African American community in Niagara Falls

Thursday, 03 September, 2009

lido said...

Barney, I was thinking the same thing. Thompson and Delmonte are absolutely driving the hiring train at NYPA in Lewiston. I cannot believe that Shirley Hamilton would allow someone who has shown quite the propensity for dropping F-bombs into that facility.

I have to think that DelMonte drove the Fournier hiring, because if Thompson knew about his history, there is no way that he would have supported it.

Obviously Delmonte doesn't have a problem hiring bigots.

James T. Kirk said...

Hobbes--This is disturbing news. The obnoxious patronage game aside, Mr. Fournier's conduct does not reflect the best this community has to offer. Alabama, maybe. Not Niagara. But as regular readers of your blog, we have to ask: Where's Darius Pridgen? Maybe he should bring his congregation to tour the Power Vista. It's not even as long a bus ride as Lew-Port, after all.

Dark Knight said...

Excellent points all the way around. I'm most interested in this hiring freeze and why NYPA isn't adhering to it. I know they are a state autority, but they should still respect the Governor's wishes.

I'm also amazed that local politicians are so quick to fawn all over Kessell in return for getting a few friends hired and a couple of checks. NYPA is picking our pockets but Dyster dutifully shills for NYPA every time Richie is in town...and for what, a job for David Duke, I mean Mr. Fournier.

Dark Knight said...

Yes, the world is a better place today because Steve Fournier has a job at NYPA. No wonder our electric rates are so high. If I say something nice about Kessel, can i have a job too?

The Avenger said...

You've got to feel bad for all the har working folks at NYPA who have to work along these insufferable fools that the politicians keep sticking them with.

Notice we don't have anyone in the NYPA hierarchy from WNY. Instead, Richie keeps the really good jobs for all the hacks from LIPA he's bringing over. He tosses the locals a few jobs and they all bend over backward to kiss his arse.

Paladin said...

Does DelMonte have any sense of shame? She and Richie Kessell just stuck their necks out for the Grand Dragon of the local Klan chapter.

I've long heard rumors about Renee Kimble not being able to stand Francine, and the feeling being mutual. Now I'm beginning to understand why.

Dark Knight said...

Prediction Center: Kimble primaries DelMonte next year. The Independence Party give Kimble their line. In the general election, in a three way contest, Ernie Palmer defeats DelMonte as Kimble ciphons off more than enough votes to sink the incumbent. Palmer wins with 50 percent of the vote, DelMonte takes 44 and Kimble 6.

Barney said...

Palmer is not running. A canidate that lives in the City will defeat Delmonte. I heard Murgia named mentioned.

James T. Kirk said...

Francine DelMonte: The George Wallace of Western New York.

The Avenger said...

Hmmm, I wonder what part of Fournier's resume stood out. Consider what that would look like:

Failed restauranteur looking to start new gig. Like to get drunk and start fights. Not above throwing around a few racial slurs. Proud Councilman of one of the worst governed cities in the United States.

I'm surprised he didn't have more job offers with those qualifications.