Last week, we pressed Stefan Mychajliw on his reporting, noting that his website listed zero completed audits for 2017. Since our August 22nd release, Stefan has rushed to offer backdated information to the Comptroller website, and his March report is a startling representation of the man in question.
This audit examines the use of Family Medical Leave Act usage among County employees. The FMLA is a federal law that allows employees from firms of a certain size access to unpaid leave for things like long term illness or the birth of a child.
Stefan’s highly partisan report focuses on a total of seven coding errors. The report is clear that while these miscodings have a monetary value, they resulted in zero dollars of overpayment. This means no taxpayer money was lost.
Why does this matter? Because Stefan’s report goes on to list, by name, the unions represented by the miscodings as though they were relevant to the audit. In naming unions, as if bargaining unit or contract were relevant to a paperwork error among staff members, Stefan attacks the members of CSEA and the PBA directly.
While unions seek to ensure workers in Erie County remain economically secure and well represented, Stefan seeks to pit voters against them. Unions are responsible for policies like the minimum wage, weekends, and the end of child labor. They work hard to protect their members, negotiating contracts that ensure economic security and safe work conditions. These negotiations have been fundamental in ensuring that workers inside and outside of unions are well-protected.
The FMLA is a protection used by families in some of the most overwhelming moments of their lives. It is unlikely that they would have ever used this timesheet function before, and that many of them had never expected to need to use it personally. The idea that overwhelmed people experiencing a life changing event may make an error is something we should expect. Systems should be created to protect the County’s resources in such instances. But who are our best resources? Our people! A public shaming of the unions that represent them is exactly the sort of partisan politics we’ve come to expect from Mychajliw.
Instead of focusing on the systems that allow for fraud and waste, he seeks to shame unions and their members. Instead of releasing this report when it was written, he chooses the middle of campaign season, following the PBA’s decision to publicly endorse him.
Stefan, why are you actively seeking to denigrate unions and their members, while actively seeking their support when it benefits your campaign? And how many more “audits” and “reviews” should Erie County expect to find backdated on your website in the upcoming weeks?
I’ll be here when that happens to share with Erie County about the validity of these reports.