Broome County executive sells homemade jewelry from office

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Here’s one way to close a budget gap.

prestonBroome County Executive Debbie Preston sold homemade jewelry to employees inside the Broome County Office Building in 2012 and 2013, an activity she says was permitted under county policy, the Press & Sun-Bulletin reported today.

Preston wouldn’t talk publicly about the matter to the paper, and instead provided written responses to questions about it.

“She is booked with back-to-back meetings and appointments for the next week or so,” her spokesman told the paper.

She said she made the jewelry herself and sold or traded it to others in the office.

“One of my personal hobbies for the last several years has been making simple homemade jewelry,” she said in the statement. “In the past, I have offered the jewelry within the building.”

The jewelry, though, was on full display outside her office and one of her secretaries collected the money from the sales.

Preston, whose salary is $92,083, estimated she has sold no more than 25 of the items that totaled “several hundred dollars over a few years.”

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3 Comments

  1. According to the website BCVoice, it went a little further than lil’ Debbie’s version of events. Aside from being against the county charter, in informer on BCVoice said she used her secretary’s desk as a display case, had her secretary collect money for sales, employees felt pressured to buy her trinkets, and she did not collect state and county sales tax on these sales.

    Since BCVoice was right about this one, it will be interesting to see if BCVoice is right about her altering her timesheets when she was on Broome’s Board of Elections to make it look like she was working instead of out campaigning.

  2. Victor Furman on

    Is Jr Tarik or Gorn? Debbie did not pressure anyone to buy jewelry. Look at Matt Ryan activities as mayor then. You’ll have a gripe. How many times when at work has someone brought Avon to sell, candy bars, raffle tickets, Started a NY Lottery pool? Or a football pool? Debbie is a straight forward politician who does the job because she loves Broome County and it shows…. that’s why she won the election.

  3. JR are my initials so that precludes me from being Tarik or Gorn. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s get to the point you were groping at.

    Other workplaces do allow the things you mentioned (or turn a blind eye to it). Just because they do this doesn’t mean it is okay for Preston to do so. She works for Broome County and it violates Broome County’s Charter. Aside from the legality of it, it is tacky and makes the Broome County Executive’s office look “bumpkinish.”

    As far as her pressuring employees, you weren’t there and don’t have a clue about what happened. The person who started the thread over at BCVoice sure seemed to be there and to think she was being pressured.

    Here’s the post from BCVoice:

    “I work for Broome County. I don’t make a ton of money but it’s a job. Like any medium-large employer, there are often causes and charities, retirements and other little things I chip in for.

    But over the last couple years Debbie Preston has sold her own hand made jewelry out of her office and pressured female employees to buy it. It’s all an even dollar amount, so I know she’s not paying the state (OR COUNTY) any sales tax.

    It’s just wrong. County buildings are owned by the public. As taxpayers we also pay Mrs. Preston’s salary, we shouldn’t be forced to buy her jewelry, so she can make more on top of the $95,000 she makes now. This is different from bringing in candy bars for your kids school team, the only cause she’s selling for is her own self interest. It’s wrong and it needs to stop.

    Many other female employees feel the same way but are afraid to speak out. Lately a number of county employees have been wrongly “let go”, no one wants to be the next to go for speaking out on the County Executive.”

    If Debbie Preston truly loves Broome County then she should stop playing dress up for the cameras, stop treating the county offices like a flea market, and start acting like a professional.