September 2, 2010

Bill Davignon to NT Taxpayers: Drop Dead

Few things are as pathetic as failed politicians grasping at whatever straws they can to remain relevant and settle old political scores. That’s why news we received out of North Tonawanda made us laugh—until we considered the costs to taxpayers.
Once again, we find a NT public-sector union boss digging in to continue government employees’ outrageous benefits—even if it means screwing the taxpayers.
A friend who’s a city worker sent us an agitated email, along with a couple of attachments. It seems that failed politician William Davignon, who once held the 9th Legislative District seat now held by the popular Legislator Phillip Russ Rizzo, has personally declared war on the administration of new NT Mayor Rob Ortt, and he’s using CSEA resources to fight his fight. Our friend suspects it’s because Davignon is still bitter about being booted out of office by the local GOP; we’ll call that conjecture for now. The crux of the matter is an effort by Ortt to rein in city spending that ballooned in his predecessor’s final budget, and a novel approach Ortt took to saving the city on its insurance costs—saving $100K a year while not harming city employees’ very rich benefits in any way.
Our friend’s email read, in part:
Hello [Hobbes]!
I am sneding you two notices that city employees received in the past week. One is from the Mayor and the other is from Bill Davignon….our CSEA Local’s President. I think you remember Bill. Well, he is at it again.
I get really good benefits. All of my scrips are $5.00 co-pay. That’s the generics and the name brands. That does come in really handy with [name withheld]’s allergy medications. [Hobbes], I know that a lot of people have worse prescription benefits than me, and a lot of them are the ones paying the taxes. I don’t want to lose them.
From what I was told, the Mayor is trying to save costs because we are all facing a tax increase here. Part of the problem is the insurance companies are playing games, and it costs more money than it’s worth to give us our $5.00 co-pay directly….so we would have to take a worse co-payment from the insurance company, but the city would reimburse us for the difference. We’d still have a $5.00 co-pay for all intents and purposes.
Personally, I realize that’s going to be added work, and I really wish there was some other way. But it’s supposed to save the city $100,000.00 every single year. And I’d rather they did that than lay off any more city workers.
A lot of us are worried that if Bill keeps this up, the next time our contract gets re-negotiated, the council will come after our prescription benefits because we wouldn’t work with them now. We really need to flush that turd and get a new union Pres. Bill is still mad because he was beat in that election by Henry [Wojtaszek] and the Republicans, so he’s going to get into a pissing match with an all-Republican council. It’s almost like he’s so angry he’s blinded by it all and can’t think long term strategically.
We can’t speak for William Davignon’s reasoning, of course. He’s being true to form, if nothing else. When he was a county legislator, he did far more to represent the unions than the taxpayers of the 9th District, and it looks like he approaches his job with the City of North Tonawanda the same way.
It’s just too bad that city taxpayers are going to get screwed in the process.
Oh—Ortt’s and Davignon’s letters are below, for your reading pleasure:

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