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Sound Off: Should the County Rehire Santa Claus?

The county says it can't afford to pay Santa this year; Christmas spirit killer or necessary budget cut in tough times?

Newsday reported Thursday that Suffolk County officials have decided not to rehire a man to play Santa Claus at the county-run this year.

A county spokesman told Newsday that in face of the county's budget shortfall and with layoffs looming for 750 people, the county cannot afford to pay 83-year-old David McKell $660 to play Santa. McKell has donned the big red suit for the past nine years. 

The county is now looking for volunteers to replace McKell. 

What your take? Should the county pony up the $660 to rehire McKell? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments. 

Michael Ragan November 05, 2011 at 11:50 AM
"Now he's dressing up like Santa Claus. A very sordid business." - Mortimer Duke, Trading Places (1993)
Catherine Inserillo November 05, 2011 at 12:02 PM
You can't cancel Santa!!!! Six hundred dollars is really nothing when you think about it. How about asking some of the higher paid county officials to all contribute to paying Santa.
Joseph LoSchiavo November 05, 2011 at 12:50 PM
I got it ...How about our 18 legilators donate the $600 . This amounts to a little over $33 each. 64 cents a week. Silly me...I forgot, they're totally underpaid and overworked. NO Santa Clause. Great goin guys.
Joseph LoSchiavo November 05, 2011 at 12:52 PM
...I think we need a commision to study this...
dennis belcher November 05, 2011 at 04:14 PM
its obv that the 16 people that voted NO to Santa don't or never had young kids,regardless the $660 should come directly outa the pocket of whatever genius that decided to even think about deep 6in Santa I mean really shame shame shame SHAME on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Holbrook Resident November 05, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Why not just volunteer. Isn't that what the season is all about anyway? Giving on one's self? Why does someone have to get paid to portray Santa Claus? I'm sure there are big bellied guys that would volunteer their time. At least I hope there are.
dennis belcher November 05, 2011 at 04:59 PM
im sure there is someone who would volunteer but they really shouldn't have to whoever has done it in the past deserves to get paid the $660 im sure it isn't for 1 day of playing Santa i'd bet he is barely getting minimum wage for it as is and whoever it is that is suggesting the cut isn't on the bread lines im sure,he/she or they should pony up the loot!
Tre November 06, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Pay the man. We do not want some sick old man playing Santa I am sure this person has had a backrounf check and in the past nine years if their have not been complaints they should definitely have him and pay him. $660 is nothing in the realm of things and seeing joy on a child's face is worth far more than that
Lisa November 06, 2011 at 02:48 PM
I think it's pathetic that they would even consider canceling a tradition for $660!! Really....is that what its come to? Maybe some Suffolk County officials could forfeit some lunches and dinners paid by the county to cover the cost of Santa Claus.
Joseph LoSchiavo November 06, 2011 at 03:11 PM
At the very core, rhis is a case of politicians abusing thier aurhority by beating up people by trying to "prove" that they a fiscally conservative.... On a practical level, Lisa is correct. The liability level would probably be increased by asking for volunteers with no backround check. Either way...it stinks. Whomever did not vote on this should leave.
Joseph LoSchiavo November 06, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Actually...it was Tracy whom was correct...but Lisa mad es some good points too.
Jim November 07, 2011 at 03:23 PM
The government should not be providing cash for a religious celebration. However, I'm not opposed to allowing displays on government property, as long as they're set up by volunteers, thus not costing the government/taxpayers anything.

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