Speed Reads

Only in America

Only in America: The county administrator who stole Christmas

A cash-strapped New York county gives Santa a pink slip — and more in our collection of strange revelations about the nation

Not even Santa is safe in these troubled economic times. In New York's Suffolk County, county administrator Steve Levy opted to trim $660 from the annual $2.7 billion budget by giving St. Nick the boot. Levy says he couldn't justify paying 83-year-old David McKell, a former homicide detective and WWII vet, to play Santa when hundreds of county employees were facing layoffs. After constituents called the Republican Levy a Grinch, a local Democrat gunning to succeed Levy stepped in to pay Santa's salary out of his own pocket. Christmas crisis averted.