Thursday, April 16, 2009

Government Worker Wants Pay for Lost Lunch Hour During Massacre Lockdown

The Broome County, New York government wants you to know that not everyone who works there is an insensitive lout who cares more about a little money than the needless deaths of his fellow human beings.

On April 3, a gunman murdered 13 people at the American Civic Association before taking the coward's way out and killing himself. During that time, the Department of Social Services (DSS) locked down the building after the shooting until they received the all-clear from the police.

Now, James Kauchis, an accounting clerk with the Broome County DSS, is very upset because he was confined to the DSS building during his lunch hour.

He wants to be paid for that hour he was in the building, so he made a formal complaint last week to the Broome Personnel Department.

Kauchis told the Binghamton Press that he did make the complaint, but refused to say anything else.

"That's a matter between me, the administration and the union," Kauchis he told the paper.

According to the Binghamton Press, Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala is disappointed and embarrassed that someone would make a complaint like this

"A lot of people lost a lot more that day than just one hour," Fiala said. She also said she would fight a formal grievance, if it's filed.

Michael Klein, director of Broome County's personnel department, did not think too highly of Kauchis' attitude and actions. "This is the kind of thing that makes government workers look bad," he said.

Klein said that no other government employee in all of Broome County has complained.

"Ninety-nine point nine percent of county employees stepped up to the plate," said Klein.

I checked Binghamton Press' review of government employee salaries. Kauchis makes $30,512.90. Assuming he works 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, he makes $14.67 per hour.

So let's review the situation:

  • 14 people died in a bloody massacre just across the streeet.

  • City, county, and state police risked their lives to prevent further deaths.

  • They made people stay inside for one hour of their lives they might normally be able to leave the building.

  • That hour of James Kauchis life is worth $14.67.

  • Kauchis seems to think he is entitled to that $14.67, despite what it represents.

  • Does this mean that Kauchis thinks 14 people are worth less than $14.67? Does this mean that in Kauchis' eyes, each life was worth $1.047?


  • I would hope that no, he doesn't think this. I would hope that Kauchis is suitably embarrassed by all the attention his formal complaint is receiving, and that he withdraws it, and apologizes to the families of those people who were killed, the people who were affected by the tragedy, and to those officers who risked their lives in responding to the situation.

    If he doesn't, and continues to grub for his blood money, I think Barbara Fiela should write Kauchis a check for $14.67 – written in red ink, of course – and personally hand it to him.

    Along with his termination letter.

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