Hawkins: Astorino needs to come Clean about Patronage in Westchester County

Hawkins: Astorino needs to come Clean about Patronage in Westchester County

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for an open debate with his gubernatorial opponents on the issue of corruption.

The issue of Astorino's patronage habit came to light today when one of his high priced aides resigned after being arrested for DWI involving the use of a county vehicle that was in an accident. The aide, Hugh Fox, is chair of the County Conservative Party and was paid $105,000 by the county.

Hawkins pointed to a Newsday article that documented the hiring by Astorino of more than a dozen politically connected individuals by Westchester County at the same time Astorino was cutting 70 county employees.

"When I campaigned in White Plains earlier this month, the county employees I met were still angry about Astorino laying off county workers at the same time he was hiring high-priced political cronies," said Hawkins.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today for an open debate with his gubernatorial opponents on the issue of corruption.

The issue of Astorino's patronage habit came to light today when one of his high priced aides resigned after being arrested for DWI involving the use of a county vehicle that was in an accident. The aide, Hugh Fox, is chair of the County Conservative Party and was paid $105,000 by the county.

Hawkins pointed to a Newsday article that documented the hiring by Astorino of more than a dozen politically connected individuals by Westchester County at the same time Astorino was cutting 70 county employees.

"When I campaigned in White Plains earlier this month, the county employees I met were still angry about Astorino laying off county workers at the same time he was hiring high-priced political cronies," said Hawkins.

Among the anti-corruption reforms Hawkins is campaigning for are full public campaign financing to end corrupting pay-to-play donations; proportional representation in the legislature; a full-time state legislature with members barred from receiving corrupting outside salaries while in office; and independent ethics and redistricting commissions staffed by civil servants rather than political appointees.

"No wonder Astorino only wants to debate Democratic Party candidates. The Democrats plays the same patronage games as the Republicans. Notice how the current TV attack ads by Cuomo don't focus on the solid evidence of patronage but rather on charges by the Independence Party of federal racketeering by Astorino," remarked Hawkins.

"You have Cuomo trying to intimidate witnesses in the Moreland Commission scandal, you got Astorino using tax funded jobs to reward his supporters. Both claim they are the anti-corruption candidates. They really are just foxes wanting to guard the hen house. To clean up corruption, we need a clean sweep in Albany and bring in the Greens," added Hawkins.

According to the Journal News, "Fox retired from the Yonkers Fire Department – where he was president of the firefighters union from 2005 to 2008 – months before getting the county job in 2010. His annual pension is $90,139, which he collected on top of his county salary. The Astorino administration sought and received a waiver from the state Civil Service Commission allowing Fox to double dip, even though its stated policy was to limit requests for the waivers."

The Conservative party backed Astorino in his first run for office but not his second, though Astorino was backed by the state chair of the party. Fox became party chair shortly after being hired by Astorino. The party backed Astorino in his recent re-election.

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