The Rath Building Has a Problem, and It's Much Bigger Than Bedbugs

This morning, WIVB shared a story about Stefan’s take on bedbugs in the Rath Building. Bed bugs are notoriously hard to remove, and a building like the Rath Building will certainly have many challenges ahead. As someone who is just months away from a position in this building, I share the concern of those affected.

However, Stefan’s course of action is clear. Rather than seeking to determine whether resources have been appropriately allocated for bedbug removal, or seeking to fund remediation, he created a hotline and issued a press release. Let’s be clear: Stefan has access to a county email address and county phone systems. If he were the appropriate person to address this issue, the staff of this building already knew where to find him.

In addition to it being far outside the work of the Comptroller’s office, this is an unintelligent and flagrant act of campaigning from office. Asking union workers to ignore the trusted structures that are in place to handle these concerns, he defies HIPPA and ADA laws, asking them to share their health concerns with his office!

After five years in office, the incumbent should know which state and county offices exist to ensure safe work environments. He must know that union reps are well trained to gather complaints and file grievances, and some are especially trained to handle bed bug issues. Once again, we find Stefan ignoring the rules as they exist, pretending to be superman, and exploiting every possible angle available to gain media attention. This is a blatant misuse of county resources that helps no one. I believe the people of Erie County will not be fooled by this charade.

Stefan has already proven that he is not an advocate of union workers. Rather than establishing a hotline no one needs, which asks people to bypass their true advocates, he should be asking, “Are there funds to address this? Can we bolster them? Can we address this issue more promptly?” But that story, the story of “Comptroller doing actual job,” would gain no headlines.

I know well, from my dialogue with the team managed by the Comptroller, that his relationship with union employees is unhealthy, disrespectful, and highly influenced by partisan politics and closed door hand shakes.

So county employees, I’m opening my own hotline. If you’ve experienced Stefan as adversarial, a no-show, a partisan game player, I want to hear your story! Because this November, the community can do better. But your help is necessary. We need the community to see Stefan as he really is. Your stories will help paint clarify the picture.

That number is (716) 427-8470. Call and leave a voicemail with whatever information you feel comfortable sharing.  We’ll make sure your voice is heard by the people of Erie County.