Unable to find enough people that thought a conversation between Al Gore and Andrew Cuomo on climate change would be riveting, New York’s governor apparently invited state workers to attend the speech and paid them to do so. Some were even allowed to go home at the conclusion without returning to work.
According to one source, this practice is common to drum up support for the Governor’s programs and speeches.
It’s no wonder state workers have a bad reputation. It starts at the top.
Via the New York Post:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn’t taking any chances that there might be empty seats at a speech he delivered last week on climate change — so state workers were summoned on the taxpayer dime to fill the audience, The Post has learned.
The workers said they left their jobs in the middle of the day Thursday and were paid their full salaries to hear Cuomo at Columbia University announce the state was joining a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“I’d rather be at the park,” said one of the workers, who is employed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and who has no connection to climate issues.
He explained that he went because his boss “asked me to make some time available in my schedule.”
The worker confessed that he didn’t know what the event was about before he agreed to go.
He said attendance is not required, but is viewed favorably, and that the practice is common throughout state government to support Cuomo.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin tweeted that the same practice of bringing in paid supporters happens at Cuomo’s State of the State speeches.
— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) October 14, 2015
A Health Department worker said that workers were given the option of attending Cuomo’s climate change speech “instead of working.”
That’s debatable, however. Have you listened to a Cuomo or Gore speech? It’s work.
One employee complained, “Public employees take an oath that they won’t use their position for their personal advantage.”
Adding, “How can you expect any state workers to take it seriously when the boss isn’t leading by example?”