Earlier this week, we ran a summary of a New York Post story claiming that State Senator David Storobin doled out salary hikes to staffers just after losing his election bid for the Super Jewish district. Storobin, who came to office in June only to see his district drawn out of existence by redistricting, will be out of a job come January 1, and the story alleges that the local pol was rewarding his supporters after the electoral defeat. Storobin sent the following unsolicited letter to Sheepshead Bites:
On December 16, Candice Giove of the New York Post ran a story that your blog picked up which claimed that I “lavish raises on staffers.” The journalist purposely ran an article with false information after it was explained to her because she did not want to allow facts to get in the way of her doing a story.
Pinny Ringel got a pay raise because he was promoted to the position of the Chief of Staff after the previous one was fired. Since I only took office on June 4, I did not know who was good and who was bad. As a result, several people got fired and several others promoted. But the net result for the taxpayer was the payroll actually going down!
If you look at the amount of money spent by the New York State Senators since the day I took office, I spent a smaller percentage of the staffing budget I was allotted than anyone else, saving taxpayer money.
The New York Post also claimed that “this is the time when no real work is going on,” a claim patently false to anyone who’s heard of Superstorm Sandy. We routinely have 100 people calling or walking in on a daily basis.
And unlike other elected officials, we never sent away people who did not live in our district. When Superstorm Sandy hit, we successfully fought to restore power to a senior home on Coney Island, which is not in the district I represent, nor in a district I ran in for re-election post-redistricting, nor any district I could potentially think about in the future. I visited several other senior facilities outside of my district, in addition to visiting dozens of senior centers, non-profits, schools and other agencies in district I represent to help people recover from the storm, as well as to let them know about the STAR tax rebate, EPIC, free flu shots and legal help that my office offered, and many other services my office offers. We even set up a mobile office to travel around the district to help people who may not be able to come to us.
I spent my own personal money (post-election) to announce on the front pages of 5 local newspaper that we are ready to help people. More of my money went to print 15,000 magnets with emergency phone numbers. We robocalled people offering help (again, not at government expense), and whereas others would spend government money to hire people to give out flyers and magnets, I did that myself or recruited volunteers.
When I was in Albany, I did not hire any staff for that office at all because I knew that the session would end soon. But despite having no help, I sponsored 42 bills: 11 to improve our schools, 10 to create jobs, 8 to fight crime, several more to improve transportation. I’d like to add that despite coming out of a very contentious election, I routinely co-sponsored bills introduced by Democrats, even when other Republicans were unwilling to cross the aisle. I was the only Republican to cross the aisle to vote with the Democrats to protect our elderly and poor from higher medical co-payments.
The New York Post story is a disgrace to journalism. Candice Giove wanted to do a hit piece and she did one. But the fact remains that the only reason some people got pay raises is due to them getting a promotion after several other people got fired. Ms. Giove knew this fact and chose not to let facts get in the way of her story.