In An Open Letter West Seneca Resident Discloses Ethical Lapses To Town Watchdog: Al Petko

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West Seneca, New York — Dear Al Petko,
My name is P.A. Kane and I, along with my family, have been West Seneca residents since 1994. At the end of 2019 I retired from my day job of nearly three decades. In the last several years while still working this day job I wrote a couple of novels and started this website—Buffalo Mud. Even though I’m quite busy trying to be an author I still have some free time on my hands these days and am considering applying for a job with the Town of West Seneca. 

Before I tender my job application I thought I should reach out to you Al Petko, since you’ve become the self-appointed moral and ethical watchdog of how every public cent is spent in West Seneca, despite never providing any of your own public policy credentials. Just an oversight I’m sure. And, I know this is a very busy time as you use your expertise in education policy to vet candidates for the West Seneca School Board. But, it’s plain to see you are a man that can walk and chew gum at the same time. In fact, I have marveled at you from your exalted perch, conducting your Nancy Drew like investigation of Sheila Meegan’s former secretary and her new position with the Town of Amherst (Figure 1) and exposed the salaries of numerous town workers (Figure 2).   

Figure 1.

So in the name of transparency, I was hoping you could pause your inquiry into the sloth and waste being committed by town workers for just a moment as I liberate some truths about ethical lapses in my work history ahead of submitting my job application. Heavens knows Al, I would hate for you to shine your Scooby Doo light in my direction and shame me before my West Seneca friends and neighbors. (Sidebar: my wife has read your social media posts and thinks you’re like Velma, but I’m like—no way Al is a hundred-percent can-do guy like Freddy. If Al was one of the gang in Scooby Doo, he’d be driving the Mystery Machine and unmasking all those lousy schemers and criminals). But, I digress . . . 

First, I freely admit I have cut some corners, played fast and loose with standards and rules at all my jobs. Additionally, every gig I have ever gotten was because I knew somebody. And, I suspect, should I gain employment with the town, it will be the result of knowing someone as well.

Figure 2.

That said, here we go:

  1. As stated, I got my first job through nepotism. I was eleven-years old and I took over my brother’s News route on Whitfield Avenue in South Buffalo. Even though I technically wasn’t old enough to have the route, the station boss, Mrs. Ewing said, “That’s okay honey, just bring me your working papers when you turn twelve (Al, maybe you should  look into shady Mrs. Ewing). Also, when I was short a paper I would always skip the same house—181 Whitfield. 181 was a chaotic home with a single mother and a bunch of kids. I could tell they were the kind of people that never really read the newspaper and wouldn’t know if I skipped them. An easy mark if ever there was one. So easy, that I always got away with charging them even when they didn’t get the paper. The mom would sometimes question me about it, but I always stood my ground and got that unearned quarter from her.
  2. My second job was at a small sub shop on South Park Avenue. I got that job through my friend Terry McNatt. Again, I was not old enough, but the owner didn’t care since he was paying us off the books (Another case for you Al? Mmmm, maybe you only care about town and govt. workers and not entrepreneurs who don’t pay their fair share)? Anyway, I did all kinds of jobs at the sub shop despite my severe lack of “skills and education.” I made pizza dough, meatballs, and the pizza sauce as well as subs and pizzas. I gave free slices to any pretty girl that sidled up to the front counter because I’m shallow and weak that way. At closing time, when the pizza pans and sub trays had to be cleaned and the floors were to be mopped I would often step outside and smoke marijuana. Cleaning, coupled with the new album release played at midnight on Q FM (today’s 97 Rock) and a pot buzz, though totally illegal and unethical, was a most excellent way to end the night.
  3.  My next job was at the now defunct Sidewalk Cafe in the Main Place Mall. It was an after school job I got through my three best friends from high school. In addition to prepping, cooking and cleaning with my friends we would do all this dumb shit teenage boys do—like getting drunk down at a bar on lower level of the mall during our twenty minute break (Put down your phone Al, legal age was still 18 then). Sometimes we had these epic meatball wars, which would totally deplete the cafe’s stock of balled meat products. And, let me tell you, there were some pretty unhappy Sidewalk Cafe customers when they couldn’t get the #7 (Spaghetti and meatballs w/toasted garlic bread) or the #14 (Meatball Bomber w/mozzarella cheese). Also, one of my jobs was to sweep and mop the service hallway behind the restaurant. Sometimes I would sweep but not mop, and sometimes I would mop but not sweep. 
  4. In my twenties, while failing out of college I worked at many bars. Again, I got these jobs through friends and like at the sub shop with the slices, I gave lots of drinks to pretty girls hoping to win their favor. This mostly didn’t work out for me though because I’m kind of shy and not very handsome, plus I had the bad karma of beating that single mom from 181 Whitfield out of many quarters when I was a paperboy.     
  5. Finally, in the early 90’s, through a friend I got the day job that would afford me a wife, a family and a home in West Seneca. To me my lapses at this day gig were of the petty sort, but then again Al Petko, I suppose you’ll be the judge of that. Sometimes I would stop while I was on the clock for a coffee—I mean, what was I supposed to do, Al? If Tim Horton didn’t want me to stop for a double double, he wouldn’t have made them so good. I called in sick once when my sister-in-law was getting married and my corporate masters wouldn’t let me have the night off. I got three days off when my mom died and I called my boss pretending I was still all broken up and needed an extra bereavement day. But, instead of grieving the loss of my dear sweet mother, I went golfing with my brothers, got drunk and then went to Mighty Taco and ate an entire Super Mighty Pack. (I know — I’m a monster).

Here’s a few miscellaneous items for your consideration. You should know Al, my diet is kind of sketchy, and if hired I’ll probably increase the town’s health care costs. I like overtime and lots of it, especially on holidays, which means double time. I’m also a candidate to have both of my knees replaced, so that means, I’ll need extended paid time off for rehab.

Figure 3.

So, that’s just about it Al. Should I acquire a position with town please consider how up front and transparent I have been before you post embarrassing information about me that you wouldn’t like posted about yourself (Figure 3). God bless you Al Petko, and god bless West Seneca .         

About P.A. Kane

Writer and payer of tuition.

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