It seems to us: Better than a gold watch, more friction among Dems and Ananya just misses - The Buffalo News

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It seems to us: Better than a gold watch, more friction among Dems and Ananya just misses

We’re all for police officers earning good pay. They do important, necessary and frequently dangerous work. But, good grief, when the top public-paid employee in all of Western New York is a police officer, something is out of whack.

Mark A. Cellini has been a police officer in Lackawanna for more than 25 years and, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy, he earned a staggering $233,929 in the year that ended March 31.

The combined average wage of police officers and firefighters was $89,357, which is not a bad salary and probably not out of line, given the risks and stresses. But $234,000? That’s a third more than Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, whose salary is $179,000.

In Cellini’s case, there were asterisks: He retired that year, taking with him not just the usual overtime pay, but compensation for unused sick and vacation time. Contractually, he earned it.

Still, ask a construction worker if he gets that kind of career-ending send-off.

It’s only funny because it’s so perfectly emblematic of the Erie County Democratic Party.

Factions – there are always factions here – are on the verge of political warfare over accusations that elections officials under Commissioner Dennis E. Ward disposed of designating petitions for Michael K. Deely, a New York State United Teachers official who has been active in Democratic politics and is running for a seat on the county committee.

Deely is supported by a group backed by former Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon and, by this theory, opposed by those loyal to current Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner.

Well, it’s a mess, but this much is clear: If someone purposely destroyed those petitions, jail would not be too severe a punishment.

ANSWER: She is 16, lives in East Amherst and recently had her picture taken with Alex Trebek.

QUESTION: Who is Ananya Nrusimha?

OK, said like a normal person: Sixteen-year-old Ananya Nrusimha of East Amherst appeared Thursday on the 2014 version of the “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” and came this close to winning the episode.

She fell just short, but still: What is the chance of a lifetime? Great job!

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