Different RulesPosted: April 24, 2014
Broome County has one of NYS’s highest unemployment rates. Some residents have a full time job during the day and a part time job in the evening. Some Broome County residents have no job at all.
The Broome County Executive has a full time job and a part time job but she carries out the duties of each job simultaneously. According to an article in the Press & Sun-Bulletin, County Executive Debbie Preston sold jewelry from her executive office while she was being paid $90,700 a year from the public till. Preston defended this practice as legal because, according to her, only non-governmental employees are prohibited from hawking their wares at the county workplace.
There are a number of questions that need to be answered by Preston. How much in sales tax did she collect and has this been reported to the County and State? How was this jewelry displayed, and what were the “store” hours? Was there any consideration given to the fact that underlings might feel obliged to purchase these goods from their boss? Will other County employees, like the Sheriff’s Department workers or road crews be able to sell tires or windshield wipers to those caught speeding or to co-workers?
Ms. Preston’s practice appears to be in violation of all types of laws governing the behavior of public employees while on the job. Will this behavior by Preston be overlooked because she says laws don’t count for her?
Since Preston receives over $90,000 per year in public assistance maybe the Broome County Welfare Investigative Unit should look into the situation. For the poor receiving public assistance, she would demand action in this situation.
While this activity by the County Executive is small potatoes compared to the millions in tax breaks and other welfare given out by the Broome County Industrial Development Agency of which Preston is a member, it is a clear sign of a person who has different rules for the powerful than for the poor.