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POV: Sacred Cows

Sacred cow: noun, a person, institution, etc., that is unreasonably held to be above criticisim.

In 2011, 48% of budget expenditures were for salaries and benefits while another 25% were for fixed contractual obligations. Following the 80/20 rule, we now know that almost 80% of the budget can be cut by 20% and not have a noticeable impact on services.

The average town worker walked away with over $106,000 in salary and benefits and didn’t lose any sleep about losing his job. 

An investigation should be conducted into the hiring of numerous retired employees as consultants for $30,000 per year. This type of ‘double dipping’ is unethical and probably illegal.

The Freedom of Information request process is slow, tedious and not transparent. Every request (and the results) from every Huntington resident should be online. This will be the first major step towards full transparency.

The Ethics code should be overhauled and its board replaced by a Citizens Review Committee. There’s no excuse for the Ethics Board to meet only once a year.

Budgets are nothing more than last year’s guesses on top of next year’s fantasies. Does anyone ever check these numbers and find out what their track record is for being correct? Can’t be much better than my weekly football picks.

Budget revenue estimates appear overly generous. In the case of the Department of Parks and Recreation, estimates of a 20% or more increase in revenues have been made. Does this mean I’m now going to have to pay to visit the Anne Frank Memorial in Dix Hills?

The Dix Hills Skating Rink is now becoming a black hole for government spending. The Petrone Administration is sugar coating this by doubling the amount of estimated revenue from $1.1 million in 2010 to $2.3 million in 2011. Unless the Rangers and Islanders start playing there, don’t count on that much of an increase.

Among the more notable (and inflated) guesstimates in revenue were: tower rental fees (54%); dog licenses (157%); parking permits (37%); boat racks (77%); beach fees (34%). What was that about holding the line on taxes?

‘Interfund transfers’ are like the magic elixir of budgets. You can mix it, slice it, slap a little here and there and ‘Voila!’, you just plugged some holes and corrected your own mistakes. This is reason number 12 for a Performance Audit.

Speaking of sacred cows, when was the last time the Highway Department was audited by a 3rd party? Isn’t it a little odd that no one wants the job as Highway Superintendent? Non-elected bureaucrats have way too much power and authority. Any newly elected official needs to carefully look at what some of these people have been up to. Let’s start with the Zoning Board and Planning Department.

The far left and other members of the Petrone administration are creating a town of transients. Pretty soon the renters will outnumber the owners.

Land use decisions need to be pushed back down to the hamlets. Forget councilmanic districts and start thinking of letting the hamlets choose their own representatives and controlling their own zoning.

Finally, the answers to all of our problems do not reside in our elected officials, their scams and schemes, or their crony cohorts. The answers lie within each one of us, as individuals. Until we figure out how to get more people involved in the process of governing, we can’t expect things to change.


Peter Nichols is a former Conservative Party candidate for Huntington Town Supervisor.  He is currently running as a ‘write-in’ only candidate for Huntington Town Board.  To vote for him please put the his initials “PN” in the ‘write-in’ box at the bottom of your ballot.  He can be found at savehuntington.com.

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3 comments to POV: Sacred Cows

  • Robert Desmond

    Good piece Peter, thank you. I will add one more to your list of woes. I met a young girl down at the Dix Hills pool this past summer. She was one of the mangers. A very pretty girl with a great personality. When I met her there were police at the pool taking a report do to a car break in in the parking lot. This was early July and I asked her. Has this happened before? She replied, yes this would be the fourth time. I was somewhat shocked. She shared with me that she that she shared duties with another manager and that she would stay and close the pool in the evening around 8pm. My concern was her being alone. I asked if Public Safety would stay and walk her to her car at night to ensure her safety. Her reply was no. They needed to leave at 7:30pm to drive back to Town Hall so that they could leave for home by 8pm. I was stunned! Does it take an assault on a young girl or worse to get the attention of public officials? Why not have them leave there cars at the ice skating rink? This is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    The reckless disregard for their responsibilities to the taxpayer and its citizens is unforgivable. The failure to properly manage the employees in order to get the most value out of them is a massive failure to lead.

    Voters, Susan Berland and Glenda Jackson must be fired for the sake of Katie the Dix Hills pool manager and for every other victim and potential victim of their mismanagement.

  • Wundaboy

    Mr. Desmond: If this incident actually happened as you describe, why would you wait four months to make a very good recommendation to protect “a very pretty girl with a great personality” (if she wasn’t so pretty and less personable I guess you wouldn’t have been as conerned)? You could simply have called or written the park manager, Public Safety, the town council or the town supervisor with your concerns rather than wait four months to use your “story” to support the letter writer and justify firing Ms. Berland or Ms. Jackson “for the sake of Katie”. Please stop insulting the reader’s intelligence cut the partisan crap.

    • Robert Desmond

      @Wundaboy

      Sir, I take it by your usage of the word “if” that you do not believe me. That is fine but I swear on the Holy Bible that it did in fact occur.

      My firs instinct was to blog away and complain. There was only one problem. To have an impact I would have to reveal details, location, situation etc. Revealing those details would have put the girl in even more gave danger.

      For your information I did report it to an elected official above the Town Council as well as to Public Safety. I honestly do not know if the issue was corrected. The point of my sharing the story was that there was no proactive management of that facility. Again, what does it take a crisis to draw attention to problem?

      You take issue and are insulted by me sharing this with you . What if Katie were your daughter and you were unaware of the situation . You would be thanking me. You are far to easily offended sir and perhaps should stop reading my posts if I bother you.

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