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Parting Shot: Goodbye, Andy Rudnick

An open letter to Buffalo News publisher Stan Lipsey on the news that Andrew Rudnick will retire as head of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership in June

Hey, Stan, it’s your turn to leave now. Your newspaper is a disgrace to the people of Western New York.

The August 12, 1999 cover of Artvoice featured this cartoon, by AV’s Nancy McCarthy, of a panicky Andrew Rudnick with his trousers ablaze and the caption “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.” AV correspondent Bruce Jackson had caught Rudnick in lie: Asked at a public forum about a survey AV staffers had spent two months conducting of his membership about their preferences for a new Peace Bridge, Rudnick pretended no such survey had been conducted. In fact, AV staffers had made 2,771 phone calls, in an effort to reach the Partnership’s purported 3,500 members, and received 682 responses: Of those, 49 percent favored the signature span that Rudnick opposed, 31 percent didn’t care or wanted a tunnel to Fort Erie, and just 20 percent agreed with Rudnick that the Partnership should support a twin span.

Andy says his accomplishments were behind the scenes. You must admit that, like you, he has an enormous ego to go along with his condescending arrogance. The similarities are amazing. For Andy, it’s been 20 years on the job and he has absolutely no legacy. The only difference with you is that it’s been more than 30 years. Andy’s sole purpose has been to keep his thumb on elected officials and various board appointees so he can feed information to the group of 18 pompous blowhards who keep a lid on the community so they can enjoy the status quo which suits their pocketbooks just fine. You have used your newspaper to accomplish the same end.

The many good former employees who left the Partnership over the years say they left solely because of Andy’s tyrannical ways. They have nothing good to say about the man. Those who left the News say the same thing about how you interfere and editorialize.

Andy touts leadership but never led. He has purposely avoided the publication of a list of dues-paying members, other than those who seek only medical coverage, because you can count them on your toes. Most small businesses have left. In the same respect, your readership has declined significantly, and if it weren’t for the sports, classified, and crossword puzzle, you would have slipped into the abyss by now. Those car dealers and grocers will figure out eventually how disengaged from the News those in their 20s and 30s have become and how onerous your advertising rates are, considering cost/benefit.

Andy also plays with numbers, counting as members individual employees of key executive board members like Moog and National Grid, which have financially propped up the pathetic organization to create the illusion that it represents a wide range of businesspeople in the community. He and his executive board of second-string lackey yes-men like Jon Dandes have held the Partnership and Rudnick out as the representative and spokesperson of the private sector.

On the watch of you and Andy, Buffalo has become the second-poorest city in the highest-taxed state in the nation, where the residents have been relegated to such a complacency and acceptance of failure that they sit idly by while our totally dysfunctional and incompetent Buffalo Board of Education, while spending over $26,400 per student per year—the fourth-highest cost in the nation—deprives the great majority of 33,482 students of their right to an education.

Goodbye, Andrew, and goodbye, Stan.

- Carl Paladino, Ellicott Development

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