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Controversial Budget Has Some Calling for Giambra's Ouster

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The County Executive's scorched earth budget proposal ignited a firestorm of criticism and political posturing. But the unpopular budget even has some -- including opposing party leaders -- calling for Giambra's ouster.

It might be called the law of unintended consequences. County Executive Joel Giambra proposed a budget he said he hoped the legislature would not pass. He did hope that public outcry over threatened services would pressure lawmakers into asking for an extra penny on the sales tax. So far, neither has happened. But some residents at public hearings, like this library supporter, are saying Giambra should go.

"I think it's time we don't close any of those and find a way to recall Giambra and send him packing," said one Lancaster resident.

State law prohibits the recall of the county executive. But Democratic Party Chair Len Lenihan couldn't agree more that Giambra should go -- somewhere.

"I wouldn't say that my hope is that he moves on, I just hope he moves out, and just leaves everybody else alone," said Lenihan. "There is no excuse for the situation we're in."

But Republicans argue there are plenty of reasons. Chief among them, party leaders say is the soaring cost of Medicaid. And they say trying to fix that with higher taxes isn't the answer. Republican Party Chair Bob Davis says Giambra is showing bold leadership, that Democrats are suddenly shrinking from.

"You know all of the previous budgets, since Joel has been elected, have passed unanimously, so I find it a little ironic that Democrats today want to point a finger at Joel for past practices," said Davis.

Most residents overwhelmingly say they want politics set aside and a budget resolution found that they can live with. Angry residents say the real danger is that they will move out, not the politicians.