Bruce Berger, the former head of Westchester’s Solid Waste Commission, who was fired by County Executive Rob Astorino ‘an hour before Passover,’ is asking potential Republican donors not to donate to Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign, The Daily News reported Tuesday.
Berger, a Democrat, wrote in a letter sent around to GOP donors that he was not only let go an hour before the Passover holiday began last week, but claims he was replaced by a Republican political crony — former Judge Daniel Angiolillo.
According to Berger, Angiolillo lacks the skills to investigate potential organized crime activities in Westchester County’s trash and recycling industry. “I understand acts of political expediency, but do not understand and cannot under any circumstances condone endangering public safety for political reasons,” Berger wrote. “In comparison to Astorino’s actions, Mayor de Blasio replaced Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Bill Bratton, someone everyone would agree is eminently qualified to lead the New York City Police Department. Mayor de Blasio did not endanger public safety by making an exclusively political choice for Commissioner Kelly’s replacement.”
Berger also slammed the Republican candidate for Governor for firing him moments before the Jewish holiday began. “It is particularly galling because Astorino plays the role of a religious man, yet he allowed one of the only Jews left on his Executive staff to be removed from office immediately before Passover,” he wrote.
Read the full letter below (courtesy of The Daily News):
“I’m writing not to ask you for anything, but to ask you to save your money.
On Thursday, April 10, 2014, on one hour’s notice, I was told that my services were no longer needed by Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. It was made clear to me that this move was made not for anything I had or had not done, but exclusively for political reasons. After 14 years investigating the private garbage and recyclables hauling industry in Westchester County (and the metropolitan region) as the Executive Director of the Westchester County Solid Waste Commission, with the goal of keeping organized crime out of the industry, I have been replaced by a Republican judge who lost reelection last November and who has no relevant experience in the field. The judge, Daniel Angiolillo, “needed help”, so I was the easiest person to remove since I am not active politically and was one of the last holdovers from the prior Democratic administration of former County Executive Andrew Spano.
It is particularly galling because Astorino plays the role of a religious man, yet he allowed one of the only Jews left on his Executive staff (i.e., his direct-reports, the Commissioners and Directors) to be removed from office immediately before Passover.
Further, as a direct result of this move, it is highly likely that organized criminal activities will increase in Westchester County. In addition to the 14 years I spent serving as the head of the Solid Waste Commission, I served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Offices of the Brooklyn and Manhattan District Attorneys for a total of 17 years. In Manhattan I helped lead the four year investigation of New York City’s private sanitation industry while in the Rackets Bureau of the New York County District Attorney. I was one of two assistant district attorneys who presented the investigation to a grand jury, eventually obtaining a 114 count indictment against a total of 17 individuals, 19 companies and 4 trade waste associations. This case effectively broke up the mob cartel over the garbage industry in the metropolitan area, and resulted in millions of dollars in savings for businesses in New York City.
Former Judge Angiolillo spent his career in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office (7 years), then served as a Court Clerk for a judge, was appointed by Governor Pataki to a judgeship and finally ran for the position and won election. Ultimately he lost his reelection campaign last November. While I’m sure he is a bright man, he has absolutely no experience justifying his appointment to a position requiring him to conduct investigations of and related to mob infiltration of the carting industry. The Solid Waste Commission, like the Business Integrity Commission in New York City, was created specifically to eliminate organized crime’s control of the private carting industry. Without someone with relevant knowledge and experience at the helm, the Solid Waste Commission will be unable to effectively investigate the possible reemergence of organized crime and take appropriate actions in response.
I understand acts of political expediency, but do not understand and cannot under any circumstances condone endangering public safety for political reasons. In comparison to Astorino’s actions, Mayor de Blasio replaced Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Bill Bratton, someone everyone would agree is eminently qualified to lead the New York City Police Department. Mayor de Blasio did not endanger public safety by making an exclusively political choice for Commissioner Kelly’s replacement.
I wanted you to know all of this in case you’re solicited for donations this election cycle by the New York State Republicans or by any of Astorino’s representatives. And if you’ve already made such donations, you’re certainly entitled to demand that they be refunded.
Feel free to share this information with anyone you deem appropriate.