Thursday, December 20, 2012




It's hard to believe but it’s been a full year since Barry Ginsberg and his PIC gang that couldn’t shoot straight were put to sleep and the new JJOKE watchdog oops attack dog was born.


And like any new puppy JJOKE needed time to establish whether they were better or worse than the last watchdog.


Now I would have bet big money that they would have been better.  It was almost impossible to do worse.


But this is Albany and you should never underestimate how badly the people in charge of ethics can perform.


But I should be fair Ellen Biben has only been in charge since February so it’s not a full year.  DiFiore and the other commissioners have to take the credit/blame for the first two months.


Let’s make a list of all they have accomplished.


Ellen got to hire all her friends from the Inspector General’s office.  Has anyone been impressed by Monica, Milgram, Uncle Vinny’s family, the Chief Economist, and all the lawyers that walk into closets?  And I know they didn’t all come from the IG some had connections to Commissioner’s and their spouses.  Compared to PIC this bunch has better resumes and are more arrogant but I don’t see any improvement.  For anyone that watches Duck Dynasty its like Jessie 3 and Jessie 4 (dogs on the show).


Ellen was able to open offices in New York City and Buffalo.  Of course there are no employees in Buffalo but the commissioners from out west no longer have to travel to Albany they can video teleconference from the Buffalo office.  And the Buffalo office provides excellent cover for the fact that the NYC office was opened solely because Ellen and her posse live in NYC.  It got a little dicey from February to May when we were paying all those people full time salaries to work from undisclosed NYC locations when JJOKE’s official work station was Albany.  I can’t wait for the first time JJOKE investigates a state employee for trying to collect expenses related to being away from their official work station.  Even Teitelbaum moved to Albany although he did use a state car to travel home to NYC on the weekends (he even went hunting and killed a deer with the state car).


Ellen got her orders and opened high profile investigations into Senator Tom Libous and Assemblyman Vito Lopez/Sheldon Silver.  And maybe someday we will read all about them in the media. 


Ellen drafted new regulations to implement source of funding disclosure requirements.  They are 6 months late and ripe for a legal challenge. 


Ellen drafted new rules for disclosable business relationships.  They are 12 months late and so poorly drafted I doubt anyone actually will be reporting any relationships.


Ellen is now starting to address gift ban rules.  And believe it or not is using the old cup of coffee explanation.   One problem though the law was amended to exempt any food or beverage under $15 so why are we still talking about cups of coffee?


Ellen also got a new backdrop for meetings and pictures for the website.


Now that’s not what I would call a productive year.


It pains me to admit I was wrong.  But Ellen Biben is the wrong person to be in charge of JCOPE, perfect for JJOKE but wrong for JCOPE.


At this time it would be a giant step forward if Ms. Biben, Ms. DiFiore and the rest of the JJOKE commissioners resigned.


It’s a new year and we need new people at JCOPE.


In other words if the puppy can’t learn to pee outside it’s time for a new puppy.

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