Brooklyn, NY – State Senator Kevin Parker (Brooklyn-D) criticized a number of appointments made by Governor George Pataki in an attempt to extend his influence into the term of his successor.
"Governor Pataki has chosen to use the appointment process to further his authority in important agencies far beyond his own tenure in office," said Senator Parker.
Pataki has made 27 appointments in recent weeks with terms that will expire well after he leaves office at the end of the year. The combined salaries of those appointments total approximately $3.25 million.
"These appointments by the Governor show a blatant lack of respect for the voters of New York," said Senator Parker. "Rather than attempting to extend his influence well beyond the end of his term, he should concentrate on tending to the needs of the people of this State."
One of the most controversial appointments was the confirmation of Peter Kalikow to serve yet another term as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). A report issued by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, stated that the MTA concealed over half a billion dollars in surplus funds from the public by keeping two sets of books, which helped to justify fare hikes.
Widespread subway service interruptions, including flooding and track fires, have steadily increased according to a report by the MTA’s inspector general. Additionally, the MTA still has not put into place an anti-terrorism plan. "The MTA has been inflexible in improving its procedures and policies," said Senator Parker. "This shows that they have no more regard for its riders as they do for its workers."
Last year’s transit strike, which literally stopped New Yorkers in their tracks, has become almost meaningless with the MTA’s refusal to vote on a contract. The dispute has now been left in binding arbitration. "Mr. Kalikow has perpetuated the labor dispute by not voting on the transit union contract, months after December’s three-day strike," said Senator Parker. "This is unacceptable for the thousands of transit employees still working without a contract. The job performance and leadership of Mr. Kalikow has been brought into question as well as the Governor’s decision to re-appoint him."