A remarkable invoice was recently brought to the attention of newly elected Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw. Strangely, the Building and Grounds Department had ordered a $4,000 80-inch Sharp LCD TV. The purchase was unusual enough to alert Comptroller employees; perhaps the thought of neon-vested maintenance personnel watching their soaps during work hours was worrisome. But analysts also discovered the TV was paid for out of a cleaning budget line on an inexplicable rush order. They alerted the new Comptroller.
When Mychajliw's office tracked the ultimate destination of the massive television, they discovered it was not headed to Buildings and Grounds after all. It was ordered for County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Tuesday, Mychajliw highlighted his inquiry in a letter to Poloncarz's purchasing director. A few hours later, the County Executive circulated a coincidental memo inviting senior officials to drop in and check out the new county satellite conference system. (Or a Sabres game?)
Mychajliw told me he had no problem with the new technology, which Poloncarz described in his late afternoon memo as a money saver on meetings. In his letter, the Comptroller questions whether the purchase was technically compliant and why the large purchase tapped out a budget line that later had to be refunded. The rush order also seemed well-timed to hustle the massive television safely to the 16th floor before the famously frugal Mychajliw took office.
The new Comptroller also asked for the answer inquiring minds want to know: eighty inches? Really? You really couldn't do satellite conferences without the most expensive, largest screen television known to mankind?
I'm heading to the Rath Building and I'm bringing popcorn - unless that Ukrainian "sknara" Mychajliw pulls the plug on what could be a pretty sweet Super Bowl party.