I just got back from the latest marathon PIC meeting and although they spent 3 of the 4 hours in executive session (weird how during executive session food is brought in and the trolls on the 2nd floor all get to go in and eat – must be an example of the type of meals that would violate the gift ban) some interesting things did happen in public.
First a lively discussion regarding staffs suggested legislative recommendations gave those of us in the audience insight into how staff would like the gift ban to be and more importantly we got to see that at least a couple of the commissioners think the staff opinion on gifts is wrong as many of us listening thought.
Barry starts off by suggesting that the intent portion of the gift ban be removed because if you are a lobbyist or the client of a lobbyist your intent is to influence public officials per se. DOPE And kudos to new commissioner Carpinello for his lucid and valid concerns about such an approach.
Then Barry moved on to his personal belief that their should be a complete ban on gifts no exceptions. He pointed out that when he was a prosecutor in Morgenthau’s Manhattan DA’s office that was their rule and it was easy to follow. DOPE You forget Barry that your hero Mr. Morgenthau was caught accepting a gift from the NY Yankees of baseball tickets. A gift that cost the Yankees considerable money in the form of a fine from the old NYS Lobby Commission.
Commissioners continued to object to the various proposals and tried to come up with new ones on the fly, by the way who thought of the new idea that if you invite 100 people to an event it’s widely attended no matter how many attend? You guys keep pulling numbers out of your ass like you got a message from god. First it was 25 including public officials and spouses (that was yours Mike the chair) then it was 25 not counting spouses (that was Ralphs) now its 100 invited. DOPES
Finally Commissioner Apuzzo noted that the discussion was a monumental waste of time since it had been discussed numerous times before and no decision would be made today (At least there are two commissioners that appear to have level heads). Mike the chair tried to shut down the discussion but Barry just couldn’t read the tea leaves and kept going until finally Mike the chair mercifully put an end to it.
My conclusion is that left to his own devices Barry would draw and quarter any lobbyist he could catch, other than his wife one would assume. Let’s hope the rational commissioners see this.
Following the aforementioned 3 hour catered executive session Mike the chair announced that he would soon be Mike the ex chair as he is resigning effective January 1st due to his extensive conflicts. As an aside if your conflicts are forcing you to resign shouldn’t you do it immediately? Either you have them or you don’t.
Mike the ex chair then asked if anyone had any questions for the commission. Are you kidding I waited three hours while you gorged yourself in executive session you know I’m asking a question. And it was another simple one, here it is as best I recall
I asked you two months ago if the commission had changed the way it calculates due dates. You said it was a simple question. I sent you letters on August 12, 13 and 19 and on September 10 asking when I could expect an answer. To date you still haven’t answered the simple question and it’s evident to all present that you don’t plan to. With that thought in mind and recognizing I’m the only person who has asked a question in over a year why do you continue to allow the public to ask questions you don’t ever plan on answering?
Believe it or not Mike the ex chair answered my question. No not the one from 2 months ago but this one and here’s his answer.
We are busy
We are understaffed
We will get to it when we get to it
Then he added and we know you think because the “great” David Grandeau asked the question it should get precedence.
WOW the ex chair is a little thin skinned
And come to think about it he never really answered my question of why they continue to have a question session but that’s par for the course with this crowd
I then asked my follow up question after noting that I thought Mike the ex chairs sarcasm in his “great” comment was beneath him.
The follow-up was the following
Can you update me on the status of the complaint I made about Ralph contacting my client regarding collection of a late fee after both Mike the ex chair and Barry confirmed that the commission would not take further collection action.
Talk about throwing gas on a fire Mike the ex chairs response was to note that while I thought his sarcasm was beneath him he now believed nothing was beneath me.
Mike I’ve been around prima donnas and thin skinned folks a long time remember I did a dozen years running the lobby commission. A dozen years without the public humiliation and scandal that your commission has brought upon itself in its short existence. But I must congratulate you I’ve never seen a public official so honest in his animus against a party appearing before him. You might want to check section 74 (h) of the Public Officers Law or in the alternative recuse yourself from anything involving me or my clients post haste.
And don’t worry Mike I don’t take it as personally as you do I only care about the opinion of people I respect or believe have more knowledge or integrity than I do. I’ll let my public record speak for itself yours already has.
After Mike the ex chairs glimpse into his true feelings he went on to explain that Ralph contacting my client was an administrative error for which they were sorry and that I would receive a letter to that effect. After his answer to my first question I won’t hold my breath but it was nice to see he is capable of admitting his mistakes.
All in all an interesting visit to a train wreck.
Let me leave Mike the ex chair, Barry, Ralph and those on the commission that share their opinion of me with the words of noted philosopher Ice-T:
“this goes out to all you haters out there
Actin' like a brother done did somethin' wrong
cause he got his game tight
Don't hate the player, hate the game”