New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett was given a raise in the 2005-2006 New York State budget. The State Troopers PBA is pleased to see that the Division of State Police and State Legislators have recognized the added duties that Troopers and other members of the State Police are responsible for with the increase in homeland security and other public safety measures. The Superintendent’s raise was published in a “Capitol Confidential” column in the Times Union newspaper of Albany on April 5. The column is shown below in its entirety, and the section regarding the Superintendent’s raise has been placed in bold by the PBA.
Could Albany’s dysfunction be ready for the big screen?
Jonathan Stack, an independent filmmaker whose documentaries have focused on social issues, has two people filming at the Capitol for the six-month session.
Stack, 47, of Gabriel Films, said it occurred to him that the Legislature’s decisions affect New Yorkers more than they may realize. He wondered how to help people understand the process and get them more involved.
"It really came about from filming in Liberia," he said. "Democracy. It matters more to them somehow. At times we take it for granted. Most people don’t even know who their local representatives are." (Asked to name his own, Stack, of Manhattan, recalled his state senator, Eric Schneiderman, but not his assemblyman.)
Hours of film will be boiled down to a movie Stack hopes will be a civics primer for students. The crew has spent a lot of time aimed at Assemblyman William Parment, D-Jamestown, and Sen. Nick Spano, R-Yonkers, but is trying to find more people from both sides of the aisle.
Stack is eager to do more with Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick.
"He’s charismatic; he looks so young, an incredible model of health," he notes.
Raise for State Police chief
At least one state employee is getting a raise as a result of the new state budget adopted by the Legislature. State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett’s $127,000 salary will increase by $9,000, $5,000 less than Gov. George Pataki was seeking.
The raise was premised on the job’s extra duties in this era of terrorism and homeland security. However, some lawmakers noted the state already has a homeland security director, Bennett’s predecessor, James McMahon, who now receives $164,000 annually.
A day for stretching truth
Maybe it was budget burnout that caused two Senate Democrats’ April Fool’s Day press releases to be largely overlooked.
Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, D-Harlem, praised Majority Leader Bruno for a "sweeping series of substantive and procedural reforms" that didn’t happen, including ending "lu-lus" — extra pay senators receive for chairing or holding ranking seats on committees.
"What better news could there be on this April Fool’s Day?" Paterson asked.
Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, meanwhile, issued a "modest proposal" to install video lottery terminals in public schools.
Krueger, an opponent of using VLT revenue for education, said she realized that placing the terminals in schools rather than racetracks would "eliminate the middleman by allowing parents and students to directly fund their own education."
The VLTs could also be used as voting machines, encouraging voter turnout "through a free chance to win big and pay for education at the same time," Krueger’s release stated. "We might even be able to draw down the new federal dollars for this original math curriculum … learning to play for the odds."
Contributors: Capitol bureau reporters Elizabeth Benjamin and James M. Odato