This article details how many of the Erie County Conservative Party’s leadership has been appointed to positions in government, suggesting some sort of political gamesmanship. The article, found here, focuses on the Erie County Conservative Party.
Of the 32 people listed on the Conservatives’ Executive Committee — not counting Lorigo — 26 hold or have held a government job, or a spouse holds or has held a government job, according to payroll data.
They are not necessarily patronage appointees, though a few have been. Many have worked in the trenches as lawmen, bureaucrats, educators and blue-collar workers — jobs that critics of tax-and-spend practices seize upon when bemoaning bloated government and lavish public-worker benefits.
There’s a retiree who returned to the public payroll; households where both committee member and spouse hold government posts; and a committee member who collects two public salaries. Meanwhile, some have been board members paid stipends that fall far short of full-time pay.
The household income, health insurance or pension payments for nearly all of those 26 Conservative Party decision-makers — roughly 80 percent of the Executive Committee — have rested on a government’s ability to tax and spend.
Lorigo says the members landed those jobs on their own, not because of his intervention. But is this the party image voters conjure up when selecting a Conservative-backed politician?
“Minor parties in New York have oftentimes not been what their labels suggest,” said Michael Haselswerdt, a Canisius College political science professor. “Historically those labels have just been labels, and they haven’t had substantive meaning …”
“In the full spectrum of things, they are probably more conservative than liberal,” Haselswerdt said of the party’s leadership. “But in terms of having positions in government, they are perfectly willing to do that.”
The article also details how the Conservative Party of Erie County wields more influence than its 2% voter registration would suggest.