Normally it’s a good thing when different groups work together. Sometimes, however, it isn’t. Some recent events in New York State show what happens when the interests of the general population take second place to the interests of a powerful special interest group.
Yesterday Townhall, com reported that the State of New York and the public sector unions have prevented serious disciplinary action against state home-workers who mistreated their patients. On Thursday the New York Times had posted an update on a report they had done earlier on this matter.
The New York Times article reports:
The Times conducted a new review this year by looking at 227 cases decided since the beginning of 2012 in which the state had sought to fire an offending employee. The numbers remain the same. Only 23 percent of the workers recommended for dismissal by the state actually ended up being fired.
The latest review also included a second agency, the State Office of Mental Health, whose workers care for the mentally ill. The numbers were hardly different there. About 27 percent of 104 workers recommended for dismissal actually were fired, according to a review of cases at that agency. In all, The Times reviewed about 4,000 pages of records.
A recommendation to fire an employee occurs following an internal disciplinary inquiry into allegations made against the worker. The employee is represented by the union and has the right to contest the firing before an arbitrator, who can uphold the charges, reject some or all of them, or impose a lesser punishment. In some cases, the state and union will settle on a punishment before the arbitrator rules.
As long as the unions remain major donors to the political party that runs the state, the state has no incentive to make sure union workers are properly disciplined when they behave inappropriately.
The New York Times article concludes:
Michael Carey, an advocate and the father of Jonathan Carey, whose death led to Jonathan’s Law, has been one of the Cuomo administration’s most strident critics. He has long been troubled that abuse reports are not made directly to the police, instead of filtered through a state bureaucracy. “It’s a clear violation of these individuals’ rights,” he said. He also opposed a move by the Cuomo administration that increased the standard of proof required in some child abuse cases in an effort to make the standard more consistent across a wider range of investigations.
Mr. Carey said tangible ideas intended to prevent abuse, like installing cameras in group homes, were also being ignored.
“Rampant abuse and neglect goes on,” he said. “There has not been anything significant done to stop it.”
The article at Townhall.com cncludes:
By the way–Governor Cuomo struck a deal with the CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) six months after he was re-elected on the platform that he would address the issue of abuse. The deal included “CSEA protection from broad layoffs,” as well as the implementation of a new “Select Panel on Patient Abuse” to specifically protect the disabled and mentally ill. Two years later, CSEA employees have avoided layoffs, and the man appointed by Cuomo to lead the Justice Center for the Protection of People With Special Needs has a record of lobbying against employee accountability, and actually “lobbied against Jonathan’s Law, the legislation that forced the state to start disclosing abuse reports to parents, named after a teenager with autism who died after being asphyxiated by a state worker.” Meanwhile, the record for firing employees guilty of abuse remains at an abysmal 25%.
This is not a good situation for the residents of New York.