Morning, folks. A June-like day out there this Sunday morning, so I assume most of you are reading this on Monday morning at work when you’re supposed to be, well, working. Here’s what’s stirring the passions of local editorial writers this weekend.
The Watertown Daily Times praises Governor Andrew Cuomo for securing a Tier VI pension category for new government workers in New York.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature have taken another step to rein in the unsustainable costs of public employee pensions by adding a new tier to the system that raises employee contributions and incorporates an optional alternative to the traditional defined benefits plan.
The new Tier VI just two years after the state had added a fifth tier to the state pension system is a major accomplishment for Gov. Cuomo, who came to office pledging to reduce state spending without raising taxes.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise echoes that praise, but the paper blasts the governor for getting there ugly.
It is disappointing to see Andrew Cuomo’s first term take the same path as that of New York governors before him: Start off strong, not just talking reform but actually changing some of the undemocratic practices in Albany, and then, come crunch time, slide back into the familiar, murky pattern of governance by three men in a closed back room, wheeling and dealing with high-stakes issues that should be debated publicly on the Assembly and Senate floors.
That same sour taste was shared by the Glens Falls Post Star’s managing editor Ken Tingley.
Gov. Cuomo has proved he can get things done, but it is more often than not ugly, backroom wheeling and dealing with no attempt to gauge the will of the people.
Ultimately, in an all-night orgy of legislation, everyone got a little of what they were asking for, but Gov. Cuomo may have made “pragmatic” a dirty word when he gave away fair, impartial voting districts in exchange for casino gambling and pension reform for state workers.
Meanwhile, in yet another sign of how much pressure public sector workers are under to accept lower pay and benefits (see Tier VI discussion above), the Plattsburgh Press Republican is praising Beekmantown teachers for accepting a pay freeze next year.
The Teachers Association last week agreed to a pay freeze for the 2012-13 school year to help the district cope with a $3.2 million gap between budget revenues and expenses.
Everyone in the district — from the students who sit in their classroom to the senior citizens worried about their tax bills — should express gratitude to the teachers for being willing to abandon their promised raises to save the district $300,000.
So there you go. A governor who accomplishes a lot, but gets dinged on style and ethics points; and state and local government workers under more pressure. Chime in below.