The New York state court system's longtime communications chief was fired Thursday after inadvertently telling a reporter that he "barely" went to work at his $166,000-a-year job. David Bookstaver's firing came a day after the New York Post reported he "accidentally butt-dialed" a reporter's voicemail, which captured him conversing with someone else—and acknowledging that he was sloughing off at the office, per the AP. "I'm not doing anything. I barely show up to work," Bookstaver said in a part of the recording posted online. The 58-year-old had been planning to retire in October. Instead, he was terminated, chief court spokesman Lucian Chalfen said, adding it was too early to determine whether other disciplinary action could follow.
Bookstaver had been with the courts since 1996, after working as a spokesman for New York City's emergency medical service. Earlier, he was a freelance photographer who did work for the AP in the 1980s. Bookstaver's court-system job ranged from explaining metal-detector policy to helping manage media swarms around high-profile cases and fielding questions and complaints about access to courtrooms and records. But his portfolio shrank after Chalfen became public information director in February 2016. "They took away all my responsibilities and left my pay," Bookstaver dished on the unintentional recording, according to the Post.