In response to an exclusive CNYCentral Waste Watch investigation, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio (R, New York) is calling for an official probe into questionable spending at prisons which are slated to close.
Last week, CNYCentral reporter Jim Kenyon exposed the fact that the State Correction's Department is spending $64,892 on new windows at the Butler Correctional Facility in Wayne County. That facility is one of four in the state that will be closed down by the middle of next year. "This is cost foolish. It's the kind of upside down management we see in New York," Nozzolio said.
Nozzolio said, as chairman of a budget subcommittee on public protection, he is drafting a letter to the Commissioner of Corrections and Governor Andrew Cuomo to explain not only the window replacement at Butler but also other reported improvements at other facilities slated to close.
He raised the possibility of public hearings during next year's budget process.
Last week, the State Corrections Department issued a statement in response to our Waste Watch report which said, "The project was underway long before the decision was made to close Butler." The statement also claimed they were special order windows that had already been delivered to the contractor. The Corrections Department said, "It was also determined that the cost of terminating the contract would exceed 50 percent of the contract."
The President of the Corrections Officers Union at Butler, James MacDonald, told our Jim Kenyon, "I believe it's (an investigation) justified. Some people say that's the way government does business, but a year ago the state said it was broke. We need an investigation into this frivolous spending."
Governor Cuomo decided to close Butler and three other prisons across the state, claiming the prison population is declining and the closures would save taxpayers $30 million.