(1) Create a local review panel for Hinckley and
(2) Move the Destito bill ahead (as opposed to the Butler bill).
Regarding the review panel, the editors suggest creating
a two-county monitoring body that includes elected officials, business people and neighbors of Hinckley, West Canada, Lake Delta and other relevant areas. Each county would be responsible for naming two governmental, two business and two citizen representatives to this panel. The counties should also fund a certain level of legal assistance and a certain level of clerical assistance — by shifting existing positions, not creating new ones.Wow! We already have the MVWA, Canal Corp., DEC, State Health Department, SEMO, Oneida and Herkimer Counties, etc., involved, but the OD thinks another entity is needed. Although the OD says not to create new positions, just how does setting up a separate entity with a new responsibility of producing annual reports not require additional positions? The OD seems to assume that government employees are sitting around with time on their hands . . . If that is the case, maybe they need to be riffed rather than given a justification for their jobs. MVWA is a prime example of how creating a new entity multiples positions. Positions had to be added because when MVWA's functions were separated from the City of Utica, they could no longer share key personnel. Separate engineering, legal, and financial people were required. An employee can only have one boss ("Personnel 101") . And what good does hiring lawyers do here? Which interests would be represented? The ones who squawk the loudest? The ones tied into the "clique" running things?
The group would be charged with producing an annual report on water-related issues, similar in structure and operation to the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board that works to insure that the interests of the people of the Adirondack Park and their local governments are protected.
Creating another governmental entity will not stop lawbreaking. It will only provide someone else to point to when something goes wrong.
Both the Destito and Butler bills call for studies of the Hinckley situation. Mr. Butler wants an appropriation of $250,000 for an "independent" study, while Mrs. Destito "thinks a thorough study on water use can be done by the state agencies without spending money." The OD, ever the watchdog of the state's purse, agrees with Ms. Destito.
Mrs. Destito's and the O-D's reasoning are faulty on three points: (1) They presume without a shred of evidence that state employees don't already have enough work to do, or that the work they already do is unimportant and can be put aside. This study will cost taxpayer money no matter who does it. (2) They ignore the fact that the state agencies were key players in last summer's fiasco. They will likely try to minimize their role in creating the problem. (3) Mrs. Destito's proposal is not really that different from what we have now with the Hinckley Working Group - - which is composed of state agencies.
So, if the O-D was in charge, we would have more government, and we would have agencies policing themselves.
They must be kidding . . . .