WAY TO TAKE A STAND!
Ranzenhofer's statement on the state mandating $1 million in new county expense at jail
Submitted by Howard Owens on September 19, 2013 - 7:54am
We requested a statement from Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer about the unelected NYS Corrections Commission requiring Genesee County to add $1 million annually to the county budget to fund 10 more jail guards.
Here's Sen. Ranzenhofer's statement:
I have recently had an opportunity to speak with Genesee County Officials about the Commission’s report concerning the county jail. Our office will be happy to work with the Sheriff’s Office and members of the Genesee County Legislature in the event they believe we can be of assistance to them.
Don't commissions make recommendations rather than requirements?
An Appointed Commission with no accountability to the taxpayers mandates a million dollar annual increase in the county personnel budget and Sen. Ranzenhofer says he will be happy to work with us if WE believe he can be of assistance. Something doesn't seem quite right here. No outrage from Mr. Ranzenhofer. None from Mr. Hawley, Mr. Gsell or the county legislature? The lack of any real outrage from our leaders, makes me wonder if this isn't just a story with a purpose. Don't be surprised when we end up building a new county jail facility and It is marketed to us ( at least in part) as a way to avoid the commission mandated, million dollar a year increase in jail personnel costs. It probably wouldn't be the first time a proposed building project got a little boost from a state appointed commission. The commission looks like the bad guy for awhile. But, local officials come away looking pretty good because they avoid the ongoing annual expense of hiring 10 new officers to staff the old jail. Just maybe Mr. Ranzenhofer knows more than we do. Let's watch closely and see how this one plays out. If indeed we do need a new prison and there is some evidence that we do, lets get together with Orleans County and build a joint facility. I believe that opton was mentioned awhile back. Combine costs, hire one jail superintendent and utilize staff from both counties. We might even want to look at building it on some muck land midway between Albion and Batavia. I want to believe the commission's report on the unsuitable conditions at our county jail wasn't conveniently timed to coincide with the proposal for a new jail. But, I am skeptical. The million dollar a year increase in jail staffing costs isn't going to happen. We are going to build a new jail.
How about we give Mr. Ranzenhofer an oppportunity to collect all the relevant information, investigate his role, ability, and limitations then judge his course of action. I'd rather my elected officials tell me what they really CAN do once all the information is sorted out as opposed to injecting the by-poduct of combustion into our nether regions.
There are obviously complexities in this situation beyond unfunded mandates. If you asked Mr. Ranzenhofer if he opposed unfunded mandates, I'm pretty certain his immediate response would be yes. If you asked Mr. Ranzenhofer about the specific situation concerning the Genesee County Jail and the Corrections Commission and their findings, then taking the time to get both sides of the story is perfectly acceptable. Given the chance, he may come through and challenge the status quo and get a desired result. I'd rather judge the action then the reaction.
I am with Jeff on this one 100%, researching this the last few days myself, 'Complexities' are an understatement. There is likely nothing our state reps can do without ginning up support of legislators across the state.
The Corrections Commission dates back to the 19th century and was given much more power in 1972 after the Attica Prison Riots in 1971, It is a well entrenched government entity that has prevailed in the courts when it has done this before in other counties, it is going to take legislation and Ranzenhofer needs to be fully versed on the complexities before he moves, the same would be true of Steve Hawley. This is not a simple matter as some would suggest by any means.
Here's somewhere our County Legislature can appeal to, if they want to be bothered
I have sent an email to the legislature clerk requesting the county legislature ask the state Mandate Relief Council to review adding the 10 positions to our county jail. We cannot afford it. It would be nice if many many people sent the same request. They do work for us after all.
Great point Dave...People should ask that question to them when they coming knocking on their door looking for votes..Also ask them why we need to expand the airport with a new terminal that no one seems to want..I would think Ranzenhofer would know what kind of things that are being mandated to the counties in his district..
Great suggestion Dave, sent my email.
You're right, they should be asking about the airport. And asking about where they stand on selling the Nursing Home.
You got it!
The best nonresponse to pull out of the hat.
Why does the commission believe we need ten more employees?