December 17, 2009

County Employee Firing

I caught this piece from yesterday's Buffalo News this morning, and once again, was astounded by the arrogance of the union head representing the alleged thief. Obviously I'm not alone, since the article has drawn 26 comments from the public so far.

The story details the allegations against a Niagara county employee who has been charged with stealing two snowplow blades and some bridge railings from the county Public Works garage and selling them for scrap. The union president states his intention of filing a grievance on behalf of the employee because the union head, Ed McDonald, believes the county's firing of the suspect was too harsh of a penalty.

Now, there are certainly two sides to this story. Part of me says the county is acting way too prematurely on this and should wait until the case is adjudicated. After all, if the suspect, Joel Allen, is found not guilty, the county will have some serious egg on its face.

But the reality is that it is very unlikely that Mr. Allen will get off the hook for this one, especially considering that there is supposedly a surveillance videotape showing the the two plow blades being loaded onto a trailer.

So let's get back to Mr. McDonald's comments. In the story, he is quoted as saying, "We’re going to file a grievance on his behalf, alleging the penalty was too harsh." I'm sorry, the penalty of termination for stealing county (and thus taxpayer) property is too harsh? Really?

Some of the public comments hit the nail on the head, including:
  • You would think they (the union) would want this thief out of their midst, because it makes all government employees look like thieves. Instead of defending him they should have been pushing for his removal.
  • Just shows you they were more concerned keeping his union dues than keeping the employees honest.
  • The Union will surely say that he's misunderstood and really needed the money for his sick child, wife, third-cousin or necessary oxycontin or the like.
  • Penalty too harsh is a bunch of horse-S**t. That is what is wrong with society. Lying and stealing can't be condoned on any level and especially when the public is paying your wages.
  • Anything short of murder will get you defended by the union, and even then they would probably spend hard earned honest money to defend them.
  • McDonald's comments epitomize why unions are hated so much. And his comments reinforce the perception that unions only exist to protect the worst workers. What does the union do for the worker who gets up every day, goes to work, does his job, keeps his mouth shut and isn't stealing? Not a thing.
I hope the county prosecutes this guy to the fullest extent, with no plea bargains. If a plea deal is given, it will likely be an ACD or probation, the union will file a grievance, and they'll win. To avoid this, the guy needs to spend a year in jail. then we'll see how fervently the union works to get him his job back. Then again, if it means a few hundred bucks more in union dues, I'm sure they'll do everything thing they can to make sure he's back on the payroll in no time.

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