Regarding Susan Kent
What qualities would one want in a top union leader? Good judgment? Strategic vision? Diplomatic skill? The ability to speak on behalf of union members in a reasoned and temperate way?
Now consider the opposite of all of those qualities and you have Susan Kent, president of PEF.
Ms. Kent made an appearance in Sullivan County this weekend. She and another union leader, Maureen Kellman, who is a senior DFS employee, spoke to a group of state employees and made repeated disparaging comments about the governor of the state. That’s putting it mildly.
They called him names. They swore at him. They belittled him. They made wild claims that the governor personally called them up and threatened them.
They boasted that they would continue to stand up to the governor no matter what. They said they were preparing to sue the governor before contract negotiations begin early next year.
All of this transpired in a public place, at a restaurant. Customers heard the comments, as well as union members.
OK. We get the part about posturing for the rank and file. We understand the concept of telling the audience what they supposedly want to hear.
But at some point, leaders have to act like leaders, not rabble rousers.
At some point, public sector union officials have to actually work with the executive.
And at some point, for their own benefit, they ought to have a clue about public relations.
In this regard, what if the public heard what Ms. Kent and Ms. Kellman actually said this weekend? What if, for example, someone recorded their comments and was prepared to release the recording to the media? Would it help to have the general population hear PEF leaders using salty language? Would it make people more sympathetic to the plight of state workers?
Indeed, would the average person hearing Ms. Kent’s and Ms. Kellman’s crude comments be more or less inclined to support the governor as he attempts to hold the line on government spending?
We have no doubt about the answers to those questions.