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Feb 19

2024

MMR: It pays to be a suburban cop

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We’ve reported on the outrageous salaries being paid to the likes of Henry Wojtaszek of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. and Steven Hyde of Genesee County Economic Development Center. They make about as much or more than the governor. (What is it about highly paid bureaucrats in Genesee County, population 57,853?)  Well, it turns out Wojtaszek and Hyde have plenty of company across the state. The Empire Center for Public Policy reported last week that 1,187 employees of local governments in New York were paid more than Gov. Kathy Hochul’s salary of $250,000 in 2022-23. More than 200 took home[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 15

2024

AG launches probe after inmate death ruled homicide

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The New York State Attorney General says that Shaun Humphrey died after he became unresponsive while jailers at the Erie County Holding Center were handcuffing him. Photo courtesy of Humphrey’s family. The New York Attorney General’s Office has opened an investigation into the August death of an Erie County Holding Center inmate that’s been ruled a homicide. Shaun Humphrey, 52, died at Buffalo General Hospital on Aug. 15, one week after an encounter with guards, according to a press release from the attorney general and Ashley Isaac, Humphrey’s daughter. Humphrey appeared to be having a seizure, then became combative with[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 15

2024

Workers protest loophole in state wage law

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  With the first glints of sun coming up over Kenmore Avenue, slowly burning off the morning’s 22-degree freeze, several dozen construction union members rallied Wednesday in protest of developer Michael Wopperer, hoping to highlight loopholes in New York’s prevailing wage law. Wopperer, the tradesmen and organizers said, had amassed some $17 million in public subsidies for his $23 million renovation of the former Wood & Brooks factory just across the road, yet will not be required to pay prevailing wage to the workers he’s employing on the project.  Wopperer told Investigative Post he’s employing some union workers on the[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 14

2024

Who’s responsible for bad cops?

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Common Council Member David Rivera, left, speaks with Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Photo by Bruce Rushton. Mayor Byron Brown has said that he wants the police commissioner to have more power to discipline cops, but change is beyond his purview. An arbitrator now decides discipline, although the city charter says that disciplinary authority rests with the police commissioner. Giving power to the commissioner, according to the mayor, is up to the Common Council. “I don’t control the council, and if there was anything in this document that the council felt they could implement or wanted to implement they would[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

Feb 13

2024

Community groups question Buffalo’s lead program

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  Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, executive director of Partnership for the Public Good, speaks at a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 13 about the low number of home inspections Buffalo has completed to survey for lead. Photo by I’Jaz Ja’ciel. Nearly 40 local community organizations are questioning whether  City Hall is fully complying with a more than 3-year-old program that was designed, in part, to help combat lead poisoning in city housing. They’re giving the city a month to prove that inspectors have been fully implementing the program. Partnership for the Public Good addressed a letter to Mayor Byron Brown and Catherine[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 12

2024

Political Post: Tax hikes for snowplows

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Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. This column was adopted from Investigative Post’s weekly “Political Post” newsletter. Subscribe here and get “Political Post” in your inbox every Wednesday morning. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told the Buffalo News editorial board two weeks ago that sending snowplows down side streets in the immediate aftermath of a snowstorm might require a tax hike. Clearing residential streets promptly is a new, boutique service, Brown claimed, never before contemplated in what he called “the standard city snow plan.” “But now, the public is saying, ‘We don’t want that. We want more than that,’” Brown told The News. [...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 12

2024

Monday Morning Read

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Imagine what it’s like to be imprisoned for years on end. Or, read this compelling essay written by an inmate and published by The Marshall Project. The inmate in question, Jy’aire Smith-Pennick, is serving a 27-year sentence for murder in Pennsylvania. The biggest challenge, he writes, is boredom. In an attempt to disrupt the monotony of prison, we try to create our own personal routines filled with exercise, enrichment programs and constant work. Some of us play cards, watch sports or participate in hobbies such as sewing. But sooner or later, these routines also become monotonous. This is the part[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago

Feb 9

2024

Labor’s challenges and opportunities

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Watch our panel discussion on organized labor. Video by Garrett Looker. Regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, it will be incumbent on workers and union members to fight for better pay, schedules and working conditions. And that’s to say nothing about addressing the effects of climate change and rectifying social injustices. In other words: The labor movement is going to have to save itself. That was one of the big takeaways from Investigative Post’s panel discussion on the labor movement Wednesday night. President Joe Biden may be better for labor than Donald Trump and the Republicans, the panelists[...]

Posted 3 weeks ago
Investigative Post

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