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Hevesi Pleased with Control Board Make-Up

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – State Comptroller Alan Hevesi says he believes the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority is within weeks of digging into city finances.

It was Comptroller Hevesi who called on the state Legislature to approve a control board for Buffalo after conducting an in-depth report on the city's financial mess. Hevesi concluded that Buffalo could reach a deficit of $127 million by the fiscal year 2006-2007.

The control board held its first organizational meeting and the final member is now in place. Hevesi says the board's make-up is a "perfect mix" of political resources that will be able to authorize spending and borrowing while making some very tough choices.

"This is not a happy fun thing to do. It's not a vacation in Bermuda and or a day at a casino," Hevesi said. "This is hard work and the end result, when successful, is inflicting a lot of pain in the short term so we can come out of this and build up Buffalo's economy and tax revenues."

Hevesi says criticism of the board's lack of union representation is "legitimate." He says labor should be represented. But Hevesi says members will have the difficult task of imposing "terrible fiscal discipline" and should not have a stake in short term decisions.

"There's going to be a lot of pain and saying no, while developing a plan and implementing it," Hevesi continued. "I understand where the labor movement is coming from and they have a point, there should be someone there that represents their perspective. But that person ould be inflicting pain maybe on their own members."

Hevei's says it is important that board come the table without information that is "spun" from a personal agenda.