Patronage Accusation Details

The Slaughter campaign sent out the details on Maggie Brooks’ husband’s patronage job at the Monroe County Water Authority. It includes the most controversial accusation, which is that Brooks accompanied her husband to Disneyland and San Diego on the county’s dime, so I’m including it after the break.

As for the politics of this, like everything else in this race, I don’t see much new in the release. People know that Maggie got her husband a cushy job at the Water Authority, and spouses accompany husbands on business trips. The Brooks response, which called this “gutter politics”, was a laugh, since the accusation is a summary of a bunch of public records. The whole “gutter politics” or “politics of division” line that the Brooks campaign is pushing is a waste of time as far as I’m concerned. Everyone knew this thing was going to be a battle royale, and my guess is they’d be disappointed if there weren’t a few fireworks.


Brooks’ Husband Made More Than $1 Million at Taxpayer Funded Patronage Job

Brooks Family Took Trips to Disneyland, Las Vegas on Taxpayer Dime

ROCHESTER, NY – Documents obtained through a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks’ husband, Robert Weisner, has pocketed more than $1 million while at a patronage job at the County Water Authority.  The FOIA documents also show that Weisner spent more than $21,000 worth of taxpayer money to take trips to conferences during his time as the Water Authority’s head of security.Brooks joined her husband for at least two such trips to Disneyland and San Diego.

The Water Authority is a prime example of Maggie Brooks’ corruption and mismanagement in Monroe County. The Democrat and Chronicle editorial board called it an “unapologetic patronage mill,” and called on Brooks to provide proper oversight after it was revealed that executives took $500,000 in unearned pay and benefits from the board and walked away scot-free.  This new revelation is part of a growing list of scandals underBrooks. New figures estimate that Maggie Brooks’ record of corruption has cost taxpayers over $423 million dollars over her tenure.

“With thousands of Monroe County families out of work and struggling to afford even a weekend at the lake, Maggie Brooks used taxpayer dollars to give her husband a job where he made the Brooks family $1 million and jet-set around the country on taxpayer-funded trips,” Slaughter Campaign spokesman Eric Walker said. “The fact that Maggie Brooks used her elected position to enrich her own family makes this particular scandal stand out from the record of corruption she has already amassed.”

Weisner, was appointed to the job by Maggie’s hand-picked Water Authority Board of Directors, a body referred to by the Democrat and Chronicle as “an unapologetic patronage mill.” He received an annual starting salary of $82,000 in 2005 that was quickly raised to $123,000. Brooks also obtained a waiver for her husband which allowed him to simultaneously collect a taxpayer-funded pension of $60,000 per year; without that waiver, Weisner would have had to forego his pension while serving at the Water Authority.  On the day the waiver expired, Weisner “retired” from the Water Authority, only to be hired back as an independent contractor by at a salary of over $50 per hour. Since his wife was elected County Executive, Weisner has pocketed over $1 million in taxpayer money.

“For many elected officials, this sort of corruption would be a shocking revelation, but for Maggie, it’s just par for the course,” Walker said. “With a list of scandals longer than her list of accomplishments, voters are realizing that Maggie Brooks is unfit for a promotion, and are quickly growing tired of her ‘watch what I say, not what I do’ act.”

As head of security at the Water Authority, Weisner attended conferences in Disneyland, Las Vegas, and other cities around the country, costing taxpayers over $21,500. Documents, which are riddled with redacted charges, show that Weisner and sometimes Brooks stayed at hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, the Times Square Westin, the Sheraton Manhattan and Disney Resorts. There is no direct evidence that Maggie Brooks’ transportation expenses were paid for with taxpayer dollars. Here are some additional details on the trips:

  • In September of 2009, Robert and Maggie took a trip to a conference held in Anaheim, CA. They stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel in the Disneyland Resort, flew in a day early, left a day early, and left taxpayers to foot $2,186.45 of the vacation tab.
  • In June of 2009, Robert and Maggie had taxpayers cover $2,491.65 of the cost of their trip to San Diego, California. Taxpayers covered their stay at the Marriott San Diego Hotel & Marina, as well as Maggie’s spouse pass to the conference Wiesner attended.

The following table documents Robert Weisner’s salary over time while an employee of the Water Authority.

Date Payroll Title Type Total Salary
11/21/05 Director of Security Probation $82,472 per year (1)
1/1/06 3% increase per Bd approval Probation $84,947 per year (1)
11/20/06 Satisfactory Completion of Probationary Period Permanent $84,947 per year (1)
1/1/07 4% increase per Bd approval Permanent $88,338 per year (1)
4/2/07 Effective 1/1/07

One step increment per Executive DirectorPermanent$91,915 per year (2)1/7/08One step increment per Executive DirectorPermanent$95,555 per year (3)2/4/08Effective 1/1/08

3% increase per Bd approvalPermanent$98,426 per year (3)1/1/09One step increment per Executive Director

4% increase per Bd approvalPermanent$106,454 per year (4)1/1/10One step increment per Executive Director

3% increase per Bd approvalPermanent$113,976 per year (5)1/1/11One step increment per Executive Director

4% increase per Bd approvalPermanent$123,344 per year (6)10/21/11Retired

[Monroe County Water Authority, FOIA Response]

Questions unanswered by the FOIA request:
Was the hiring of her husband an open or closed bidding process?
Were other candidates considered?
What are his duties as an independent contractor, and how often does he work?
A request for time sheets.