Twenty year incumbent elected official Mary Holtz is in hot water over her personal use of a taxpayer funded vehicle. Operatives say that the revelations make her chances of reelection as Supervisor very unlikely, and they’ve started to wonder aloud whether she will even seek the party nomination this year.
It turns out that Holtz enjoys the use of a Town vehicle — not only to drive to and from work — but for all of her driving, both personal and for town business. Observers are incensed that she doesn’t own a private vehicle for her private use, making the situation particularly egregious.
Town employees note that Holtz uses the vehicle to attend political fundraisers, to perform canvasing activities, and to distribute propaganda during election season. Use of government property for political purposes is a red flag that often sets off investigations.
After much criticism of the Town of Cheektowaga’s policy on the personal use of taxpayer owned equipment — in light of a months long corruption investigation that was forwarded to the State Attorney General’s office — the Town Board voted to change the policy back to what it was prior to 2012.
This same policy language governed town officials before it was mysteriously amended two years ago. It was readopted yesterday and sponsored by Holtz.
But Holtz’s personal use of a taxpayer owned vehicle for political purposes has always been improper, despite the official policy on personal use of town equipment. It’s unclear whether Attorney General Eric Schniederman will make Holtz a focus of his investigation, which local political operatives expect to be forthcoming.
“Using government property, particularly government fleet vehicles, to attend political fundraisers or to perform canvassing is shocking and entirely improper,” says one longtime resident of Cheektowaga who has supported Holtz in past elections. “I don’t know how Mary can justify it. Using town equipment for personal purposes is bad enough, but to use it for political warfare is far worse.”
Her detractors say that Holtz’s behavior can be expected of an incumbent who has run the town for over 20 years — first as Clerk then as Supervisor. They think it illustrates her attitude toward’s the Town’s taxpayers, who continue to shoulder a heavy tax burden that stems from the spending levels of a Democrat party that sees itself as a machine.
Power corrupts, they say, and Holtz has ruled Cheektowaga with a politician’s sensibility — often trading favors for perks and looking the other way when political allies enjoy the town’s largess.
Both sides expect the issue factor in heavily to the Town Supervisor’s race, as the Attorney General responds to calls that it investigate what town employees refer to as “a culture of municipal corruption.”
Earlier this year there had been rumors that Holtz is considering retiring. Her poll numbers don’t look good and activists have questioned whether or not she can hold her own against the popular and charismatic Councilwoman who is considering a primary challenge.
They say that a soft landing in a cushy low-profile job inside the bureaucracy would be the typical exist strategy for a Democrat of Holtz’s tenure, but an appointment inside County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s administration is unlikely, they say.
nice try to the flea bags wegner,benczkowski,and markel.mary has drivers at most meetings as you well know..you hypocrites have embarrassed the town of Cheektowaga since you got involved in politics..please wait for the attorney general and FBI pay you a visit..then the truth comes out..bye,bye wegner…
Well that really makes sense…..why have a driver to and from meetings, a time when Mary can legitimately use her town vehicle? Or is it she got a DUI and can’t drive her vehicle because of that?
“Operatives say” is the first clue this is a BS story.
Town supervisor for 20 years? As I recall, James Jankowiak was supervisor in 2007. He replaced Dennis Gabryszak, who was in office since the late 1990s.
Mary Holt was town clerk during those years. Big difference.
Missing an important detail such as that (not to mention the spelling errors throughout the article) grossly strains your credibility.
Holtz. Damn autocorrect.
“They say that a soft landing in a cushy low-profile job inside the bureaucracy would be the typical exist strategy for a Democrat of Holtz’s tenure,”
She receives a $62,069 taxpayer funded pension. Does she really need to double dip off the taxpayers backs?
Never vote for an incumbent. That alone would cure 90% of most diseases caused by local politicians. It is good to see the factions exposing each other’s corruption. Hopefully they’ll all go to jail.
Mary and Jerry sponsor a resolution that exempts her and the Chief of Police? Wonder why those two are taken care of!
This was the policy adopted in 2011. Was the policy amended prior to the 2012 employee handbook or were the board members not doing their job when thy approved the handbook as written? TOWN OF CHEEKTOWAGA
POLICY RELATING TO
MISUSE OF TOWN RESOURCES
Town officers and employees shall not use Town letterhead, personnel, equipment, vehicles,
supplies or any other Town resources for a non-governmental purpose, nor engage in personal or private activities during times when he or she is required lo work for the Town of Cheektowaga.
you people of Cheektowaga seem to be missing the point.did the Cheektowaga highway dept commit crimes or not.was wegner drunk on town time.were employees told to keep quiet during the investigation..did mark wegner and benczkowski go to police to get employees..i didn’t use a question mark because these issues need explaining..
We also need explaining did Supervisor Holtz drive Her town vehicle while drunk. As far back as I can remember drunk driving is a crime.
The information you are hearing about the Townday is unfortuately a small fraction compared to the spider cancer in this Town. There is not one private company who would be allowed to operate in this culture. The horrific part is that the hardworking families of cheektowaga are paying dearly for it.
This entire article is a red herring. A taxpayer funded vehicle has been part of the Cheektowaga Supervisor’s compensation package since the Model T… Weber, Meyers, Swiatek, Gabryszak, Jankowiak and now Holtz have always had a town car.
Back in 1999, Bill Rogowski ran for supervisor and one of his central campaign promises was to remove the taxpayer funded car from the supervisor compensation. He said he’d refuse to take the car. Guess what? He got his clocks cleaned. The voters didn’t care about this.
If Benckowski was so concerned about the supervisor car, why doesn’t she come out right now and promise not to accept this if elected. And why didn’t she vote an amendment to remove Holtz car from the 2015 budget is she were so concerned about this.
More political backstabbing in Cheektowaga. I hope Markel gets finished with his 1 year probation for his thievery before the Atty General comes knocking at his door with fresh a fresh investigation.
there is an old saying about a snake biting its own tail. Either way you always wind up with an arse at the head…….vote out all incumbent names and maybe your town will have a chance.