Tag Archives: delaware

Coons lets bureaucrats cash in while taxpayers pick up the tab.

29 Sep

Chris Coons, as News Castle County Executive, wasted millions through overly generous sick leave policies for county bureaucrats.  Similar to the fact that federal bureaucrats make twice as much as the private sector, Coons ensured that the sick leave policy for county bureaucrats was completely out of line with the private sector. In 2009, a bipartisan group of legislators questioned Coons’ generous sick leave policies:

Councilmen Robert Weiner (R-Chatham) and Timothy Sheldon (D-Pike Creek), who voted against a tax hike in May, have called for a review of sick leave policies, which they say cost too much. ‘Our policy is out of line with what is done in the private sector,’ Weiner said. ‘It may have been done this way in government for a long time, but we can’t keep doing the same things.’” (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)

Coons’ unsustainable sick leave policy allowed county bureaucrats to have year-to-year carryover of sick days.  It also gave a severance payout for retiring employees:

A flurry of recent e-mails between citizens, council members and County Executive Chris Coons’ office have raised questions about a policy that provides employees year-to-year sick day carryover and a capped severance payout for unused days upon ending employment on good terms. (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)

According to CommunityPub.com, in 2009, $618,909 was paid out in unused sick leave to 40 retiring county bureaucrats.  In 2008, $1.2 million was paid out to 58 retirees.  In both cases, Coons made taxpayers pick up the tab for his extravagant pay out.

After being criticized for his policy, Coons declared he had no intention of ever changing the policy:

Coons said he has no intention of proposing changes to the policy, and has instead focused on other ways to reduce personnel costs — through pay freezes, changes to pension vesting, and increased employee benefits contributions. (Jesse Chadderdon, “Critics Take Aim At NCCo’s Sick Leave Policy,” CommunityPub.com, August 12, 2009)


Coons Abused County Pension System for Political Payoffs

28 Sep

According to Ron Williams in The News Journal, when Chris Coons served as the President of the County Council, he diverted untold millions of taxpayer dollars as payoffs to his political buddies and top staff.  Coons did this by exploiting a loophole in the county’s pension program.

The loophole was originally meant to attract new county police officers, but Coons decided to use it as a cash cow to pay off his political hacks:

It started as a legitimate way to recruit experienced cops onto the then-fledgling New Castle County Police Department. Municipal police officers with a few years service in say, Newport, could join the county force and get those Newport years credited toward a county pension. Then credited years were expanded into government service, still not a bad idea for high level, politically appointed executives who seldom accumulated enough time for a pension before the next administration came in. But then something went very wrong. The New Castle County pension plan became a cash cow for every political hack and hangers-on in various administrations. Come work for the county for a few years, purchase pension credits at your old lower salary at 5 percent on the dollar and retire at a nice fat pension on your new six-figure salary. (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “NCCo Pension Plan Was The One To Die For,” The News Journal, February 14, 2007)

Coons likes to brag about how he closed the loophole, but, not surprisingly, he leaves out the embarrassing part where he grandfathered in his buddies, wasting untold millions of taxpayers hard-earned cash:

But as he wrote in an op-ed piece this week, Coons has closed the ‘loophole’ that contributed to that burden. First, however, he saw to it that his buddies and top staff people — and all six of the new County Council members and their staffs — were grandfathered under that loophole which has, and will, cost taxpayers millions of dollars.” (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “NCCo Pension Plan Was The One To Die For,” The News Journal, 2/14/07)

Coons wasn’t just a member of the County Council when he decided to divert millions to pay off his buddies–he was the President of the Council:

[Coons] was president of the County Council, which spearheaded the effort to open the pension plan for employees who wanted to buy into it and apply other government time to their seniority.” (Ron Williams, Op-Ed, “Democrats Are Targeting Castle’s Seat,” The News Journal, February 18, 2007)

Given the propensity of DC fat cats to divert earmarks and so-called stimulus funds to pay off favored political constituents, is Coons really the right person to be sending to the Senate to continue his bad behavior?

Text of Coons’ “Bearded Marxist” Coming-Out Essay

26 Sep

Having trouble finding Coons’ Bearded-Marxist coming-out essay?  Here you go by way of the Star Ledger:

Anyone can make mistakes as a kid. But O’Donnell’s errors have nothing to do with a theory of governance. Coons’ mistakes do – assuming he even thinks they were mistakes. He sounds in this youthful essay like every adult liberal I know today.

But maybe Coons has grown up and now realizes his past errors. If so he’s got a lot of explaining to do between now and election day. Here’s the essay:

“College is supposed to be a time of change, a time to question our assumption about the world and define our basic values. For me, the transformations of the last few years have been especially acute. I came to Amherst from a fairly sheltered, privileged, and politically conservative background. I campaigned for Reagan in 1980, and spent the summer after freshman year working for Senator Roth (of Kemp-Roth tax-cut fame.) In the fall of 1983, I was a proud founding member of the Amherst College Republicans. In November 1984, I represented the Amherst Democrats in a hotly contested pre-election debate against my former roommates, co-founders and leaders of the Republicans. As the debate progressed it became obvious how unreconcilably different our opinions had become. What caused such a shift in only one year?

I spent the spring of my junior year in Africa on the St. Lawrence Kenya Study Program. Going to Kenya was one of the few real decisions I have made; my friends, family, and professors all advised against it, but I went anyway, My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe a strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear thinking Americans and sends back Bearded Marxists.

The point that others ignore is that I was ready to change. Experiences at Amherst my first two years made me skeptical and uncomfortable with Republicanism, enough so that I wanted to see the Third World for myself to get some perspective on my beliefs. Certainly Kenya provided a needed catalyst; I saw there poverty, and oppression more naked than any in America, and I studied under a bright and eloquent Marxist professor at the University of Nairobi. Nevertheless, it is only too easy to return from Africa glad to be an American and smugly thankful for our wealth and freedom. Instead, Amherst had taught me to question, so in return I questioned Amherst, and America.

When I first arrived at Amherst, I was somewhat of a Republican fanatic. I fit Churchill’s description, namely, that a fanatic is “Someone who can’t change their mind, and won’t change the subject.” While other freshman share care packages from home, I was equally generous with my inherited political opinions giving them to anyone who would listen. It was in this manner that I soon met a creature I had never known before—a Democrat, several of them. Some of the “Leftists” that I met early on were terrifyingly persuasive, although I never admitted that. A few became my friends and provided a constant nagging backdrop of doubt, for which I am now grateful.

More importantly, during sophomore year, several professors challenged the basic assumptions about America and the world relations with which I had grown up. Cultural Anthropology inspired a fascination with other peoples, and undermined the accepted value of progress and the cultural superiority of the West. In examining the role of myths in “primitive” cultures, we also studied the myth of equal opportunity in this country, a myth I had never questioned. A course on the Vietnam War painted in gory detail a picture of horrible failures made possible by American hubris and dogmatism. I came to suspect, through these and other courses, that the ideal of America as “a beacon of freedom and justice, providing hope for the world” was not exactly based in reality. So, I went to Africa, hungry for a break from Amherst and eager to gain some broader political insight from the brutally real world. What do other nations think of us? Can private enterprise and democracy solve the problems of developing nations? Is Marxism an evil ideology, leading millions into totalitarian slavery? These were some of the questions in the back of my mind as I left for Kenya.

What I learned in Africa unsettled me. I saw the deprivation and oppression of the poor and the politically disfavored in a way not possible in the U.S. In Kenya, my position was not at stake; I was not directly benefiting if the underprivileged had little hope of advancement. I lived with the struggling African family for a month and came to know the hardships that they face. What surprised me was the attitude of the elite; I became friends with a very wealthy businessman and his family and heard them reiterate the same beliefs held by many Americans; the poor are poor because they are lazy, slovenly, uneducated. “Kenya is a land of opportunity,” they said, “those who work receive their just reward.” I knew this was not true in the case of many black Kenyans; this story merely served to justify the position of many who had done well only by working for the British colonialists. I realize that Kenya and America are very different, but experiences like this warned me that my own favorite beliefs in the miracles of free enterprise and the boundless opportunity to be had in America might be largely untrue.

When I returned last summer, I traveled all over the East Coast and saw in many ways a different America. Upon arriving at Amherst this fall, I felt like a freshman at an unfamiliar school all over again. Many of the questions raised by my experiences of the last year remained unanswered. I have spent my senior year reexamining my ideas and have returned to loving America, but in the way of one who has realized its faults and failures and still believes in its promise. The greatest value of Amherst for me, then, has been the role it played in allowing me to question, and to think. I had to see the slums of Nairobi before the slums of New York meant anything at all, but with out the experiences of Amherst, I never would have seen either.”

Coons the “fixed gear” politician: his one speed is TAX

24 Sep

It seems there isn’t a tax that Coons has seen during his political career that he didn’t immediately fall in love with.  Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

  • Eliminate Tax Credit for First Time Home-buyers: In 2006, Coons lobbied the General Assembly to repeal the tax credit for first time home-buyers.  This would have cost the citizens of his county at least $4.2 million. (Angie Basiouny,  “5 Percent Tax Increase Proposed For NCCo,” The News Journal, March 22, 2006)
  • Lobbied for 911 Tax, Hotel Tax, Paramedic Tax: In 2007, while New Castle County Executive, Coons planned to pile on new taxes on all three DE counties by lobbying the General Assembly to pass brand new taxes including a hotel tax, a 911 tax, and a paramedic tax. (Angie Basiouny, “Tax Hike, Deep Cuts In Store For NCCo,” The News Journal, March 17, 2007)
  • Delaware Swats Down Coons Tax Gouging Plan, Coons Vows to Keep Pushing Tax Hikes: The General Assembly turned down repeated requests from Coon to gouge his citizens with new 911, hotel and paramedic taxes.  How does Coons respond?  He says he is “undaunted…[and] working with state leaders for permission to levy new taxes or fees.” (Angie Basiouny, “Historic NCCo Budget Finally Set For Vote Tuesday,” The News Journal, May 25, 2009)
  • Neighborhood Stalker Tax Plan: In 2009, to fund a new “problem properties” cleanup program, Coons wanted to start stalking neighborhoods looking for property code violations, levy fines, and fatten up a $375,000 abatement fund. (“Coons Proposes Using Fines To Clean Up NCCo’s Problem Properties,” The News Journal, October 23, 2009)
  • The Annual Sewer Tax Hike: Almost every year as County Executive, Coons raised the sewer taxes. In 2005, Coons hiked the tax up $63 for the average household. In 2006, Coons hiked the tax up by 2.5%.  In 2008, Coons proposed a 4.4% hike.  In 2009, Coons successfully raised the tax by 10%!  Earlier this year, Coons again proposed a 4% tax hike.  (Angie Basiouny, “NCCo Budget Ups Sewer Rates But Holds Taxes Steady,” The News Journal, May 25, 2005; Angie Basiouny, “NCCo OKs Tax Hike, Budget,” The News Journal, May 24, 2006; Angie Basiouny, “Coons To Propose Sewer Rate Increase,” The News Journal, March 20, 2008; Angie Basiouny, “25% NCCo Property Tax Hike OK’d,” The News Journal, May 27, 2009; Adam Taylor, “Coons Proposes Layoffs,” The News Journal, March 17, 2010)
  • Reassess Property Values so Property Tax is Hiked Even Higher:  Apparently, Coons was not satisfied with merely jacking up property taxes.  He wanted a more aggressive reassessment of the property values in order to gouge his county as much as possible.  (Angie Basiouny, “17 Percent Tax Hike Proposed For NCCo,” The News Journal, March 21, 2007)



It looks like the U.S. Congress is taking notes from Coons’ playbook: “Congress Punts on Taxes: Democrats Put Off Showdown on Bush Cuts Until After November Election,” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2010.