November 22, 2011
By Steven Greer, MD
As BatteryPark.TV first reported, the BPCA abruptly fired 19 of its staff, with with much controversy. BPCA Chairman Bill Thompson, appointed by ex-Governor David Paterson, and Anne Fenton, spokesperson for the BPCA (now that Leticia Remauro has been fired), explained that the culling of staff was due to “restructuring…now that BPC is fully built”.
However, if the firings were executed in order to eliminate now-redundant staff and save money in a time of “austerity”, then why was the BPCA budget, approved in November for $223 Million, not lower than the previous year level of $210 Million? In fact, real estate owners in BPC were stuck with a double-digit land lease tax hike.
The operating expenses also have increased in the new budget, rather than decrease as one would expect after the firing of 19 staff. This year, the BPCA expenses are $31,800,000. For 2012, they will be $33,000,000.
Prior to approving the current budget, the BPCA held a board meeting on September 13th and discussed the ongoing plans to reduce headcount. If the board knew that they would be firing 19 people before the budget was approved, why did they not allocate less money to the fiscal 2012 year?
A source close to the BPCA believes that Chairman Thompson will likely simply replace many or all of the fired 19 staff with his own “cronies” who will help him run for Mayor of New York in 2013. This source pointed out that already Bill Thompson has hired Anne Fenton, creating a new position for her and paying her in excess of $100,000. Ms. Fenton was Thompson’s PR person for his last run for mayor. He has also brought in a new General Council, Phyllis Taylor, when they had an existing GC. Another person hired by Chairman Thomson indicative of cronyism, according to our source, is Michelle Caballero. She was an assistant to Governor Paterson and needed a job when the governor lost his job. Although she is, in reality, a receptionist, she is paid more than $75,000: more than many people senior to her in the organizational chart.
Will Chairman Thompson soon re-hire more of his own cronies and replace the 19 fired whom he did not originally hire? Stay tuned.
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