Sunday, October 19, 2014

Friends In Low Places

Political Connections Pay Off

A number of the "No-Kill" pages in Delaware keep referring to the New Castle County audit of Kent County SPCA that New Castle County itself must have discounted given the fact that they again contracted with the shelter again after the audit.  Maybe the county saw the inappropriateness of their auditor being the one to request the audit given his board leadership of the "No-Kill" shelter that brought us CAPA.

The irony of their obsession with attacking Kent Count SPCA, now known as First State Animal Center and SPCA, is the fact that they ignore the corrupt politics that has resulted in the atrocities that were occurring at Safe Haven last year, and the continual corrupt politics that continues to pervade our state legislature in Delaware.

One only needs to look at the lack of common sense that our legislature has shown the last several years in animal welfare, to see that we need a substantial change in leadership to stop the cronyism that currently occurs, not to mention the various other scandals that the state has faced like the Tigani illegal contributions. Our legislatures actions have been costly to taxpayers wallets and costly to animals in the suffering that CAPA has created on many fronts from Safe Haven to the animals now left on our street.

This summer brought us more of the same kind of cronyism that we've seen in recent years with Senate Bill #253.  The bill's primary sponsor was Senate Majority Leader David McBride. additional sponsor Representative Michael Barbieri, cosponsor Senate President Patricia Blevins, and cosponsor Representative Michael Mulrooney, and of course eventually signed by our Governor Jack Markell who the shelter involved has acknowledged having connections with in the past.  Here is the bill's synopsis:
"This legislation authorizes the conveyance of the Airport Road Division of Motor Vehicles facility over to the Colonial School District. The legislation also directs the Colonial School District to subdivide, and convey a portion of the parcel to be transferred to Faithful Friends."

It was particularly concerning that our governor and legislature was handing over rights to property worth millions to an animal shelter whose last published financial statement on record at the time was for the year ending June 30, 2010.

What responsible lawmaker would hand over valuable land that could be sold to cover part of the shortfall that our state budget continues to face every years, especially when these same politicians keep proposing new taxes and fees on the average Delaware citizen that is finding it difficult to make end meets?

And how do the politicians think the shelter will develop the land when their assets on the last financial statement available when the bill was signed were under $35,000, and then also pay for the operations afterward?  I guess the answer is that we don't have responsible lawmakers and they apparently didn't learn anything from the Safe Haven debacle.

It gets even better.  When talks first began about this property, the shelter in question also owed $21,029.31 to the State of Delaware Department of Labor.

The initial complaint was filed on June 21, 2011.  So not only is it sad that our governor and legislator would want to hand over money to a shelter who hadn't filed a financial statement since mid 2010, but a shelter who also owed the state of Delaware substantial funds.

The other question that arises is - what is wrong with the State of Delaware Department of Labor that this debt was allowed to linger for nearly 3 years?  We've all seen the mess that has occurred in Delaware with the Medical Examiners Office in recent months, but things like this debt make me wonder whether the press shouldn't be investigating other agencies as well.

Does Labor Secretary John McMahon just file complaints and then hope they eventually pay or was this a special case because the shelter has friends in low places like our legislature?  I don't know the answer, but it certainly seems odd that an agency files a complaint, and then just lets it sit for years.

It appears the Department of Labor judgment was "satisfied" on March 5. which hopefully means that our politicians told Faithful Friends that their debt would have to be paid before the legislature would hand over valuable property to the shelter, but looking at the situation as a whole there is no doubt that our legislature and governor are ignoring their fiduciary duties to the taxpayers of Delaware and ready to head down the same failed path that we just did with Safe Haven.

Since the legislation was signed, the shelter has FINALLY completed their financial statements for 6/30/11 and 6/30/12, but considering the shelters assets were $26,445 before the judgment of $21,029 was satisfied, there wouldn't seem to be alot left over to build with.  You have to seriously wonder what our politicians were thinking, especially after watching Safe Haven build a shelter that now lies vacant and the many businesses that were left with debts in Safe Haven's wake.

For what it's worth, we realize that there are alot of good people that volunteer their time for Faithful Friends, and addressing the political issues that revolve around the leadership of this shelter in no way reflects on them. But as long as the Shelter Director, the President of the board, and other board members that we've watched participate on pages that have bashed every other shelter in Delaware, than it is all the more appropriate to show the political games the leadership of Faithful Friends has been part of.  The public needs to see just what kind of people are casting those stones at the other shelters, and their stones have been cast against other shelters, not just First State Animal Center.      

Most of the politicians that were involved in the legislation above won't face another election until 2016, but hopefully their opponents will question the many poor decisions that have resulted in Delaware residents paying more and more taxes, receiving less services, and dealing with the many negative consequences of legislation that was not thoroughly analyzed first, much like we saw happen with CAPA and other animal welfare legislation in our state.

The video below is a testament to the those people in Delaware that use their political connections for special perks to the expense of Delaware residents.