June 30, 2010

Always Look for the Union Label (If What You’re Seeing Defies Common Sense)

If you’ve paid for any licenses or other documents at Niagara Falls City Hall lately, you may want to make sure your documents were properly filed.
That’s because Tina Pugh, an account clerk in the City Clerk’s office, has been fired for stealing from the public. For the second time.
We would like to lay this all at the feet of the Dyster Administration. After all, this sounds like something that the spineless jellyfish running Niagara Falls Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster might do without prompting. But, it turns out that the city didn’t have a lot of choice here.
A couple years back, after Pugh was fired the first time, when it became clear she’d stolen $30 from city coffers, the city did the sensible thing—the thing that would happen to you and me, out here in the private sector. They fired her.
Enter the unions. Steelworkers Local 9434-00 (which, of course, makes perfect sense as a union to represent government bureaucrats whose greatest on-the-job danger is a paper cut, but I digress) immediately went to bat for Pugh, saying that firing her over a $30 theft was “excessive punishment.”
Um, not where I come from. I’ve worked jobs where employees returning late from lunch were docked pay and warned about their future employment prospects. I’ve seen employees fired for having bad attitudes. So, I don’t think losing your job over a $30 theft is excessive punishment! But again, I digress.
Anyway, to make a long story short, the union thugs won, and Pugh was reinstated by an arbitrator. And promptly returned to her life of crime.
Yesterday, Pugh lost her cushy job. For the second time. Mona Miller, the arbitrator who overruled the city, should lose hers as well. Miller said Pugh seemed really remorseful, and she paid back the $30, so what’s the big deal? OK, that’s a slight paraphrase. But only slight. We’re still inclined to think Miller’s a more serious threat to the public than Pugh. How many other bad decisions will she offer up as an arbitrator?
We could plumb the depths of this story further. We could point out that Dyster and City Clerk Carol Antonucci could have assigned Pugh to a job where she would no longer be allowed to handle money. We could urge Antonucci to take down Pugh’s contact information from the city webpage. We could point to numerous other cases where local unions, instead of standing up for the little guy, stand up for the crooked one. But we won’t.
Instead, we’ll just let this story stand as a sad testament to the cliff that public-sector unions are driving us all over in New York State.


lewiston razor said...

After making a few calls around I have learned that: Carol Antonucci was hired by Mayor Anello. He brought her out of retirement to become the city clerk. She had retired as a regular office clerical person right before Anello took office but for some reason Anello owed her a favor from when he was a city councilman and he "wanted her back as the Clerk of the City." She is completely unqualified for the job. She is actually a part-time City Clerk that is still collecting full state retirement. Incredible huh? And she lives in Wheatfield in violation of the city residency law. But that's OK because no less than 6 of Dyster's department heads are all in violation of the residency law including Joyce Serianni Director of Human Resources, the very same department that "enforces" the residency law. Police chief, city assessor, purchasing director, community development director, economic development director and others are all violating the residency law. Why isn't Dyster's City Administrator, Donna Owens - who is from Atlanta - firing these people for breaking the residency laws?

The Avenger said...

Razor, you make a great point. Either take the law off the books or enforce it. When you don't enforce that law, you set up a culture where laws don't matter....pick and choose what you want. That leads to those who steal and still keep their jobs.

Dyster is a disaster as mayor as he has zero leadership skills....but I'd bet he'd make a damn good clerk.

Popeye said...

Razor you are so right.Niagara Falls must of solved it's hemmeroid problem by giving them jobs at sh-tty hall.Imagine all the greasy palms we don't hear about.As stated "Niagara Falls is an equal opportunity employer"Morals be damned.