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Giambra Says He Won't Seek Third Term

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – In a surprise announcement Thursday, County Executive Joel Giambra announced he will not run for a third term.

"I said give me two terms -- because if I can't get it done in two terms, somebody else should have a crack at it," said Giambra.

Giambra's announcement not to seek re-election comes after a blistering budget battle. And after weeks of criticism over his management of the county, as well as his patronage hiring. But Giambra says he's merely keeping a campaign pledge. However, the county executive did not rule out a run for another office. As for the next three years? Giambra says he definitely will not step down early.

"I am definitely going to serve out the rest of my term -- God willing -- and I have no reason to believe He's going to do otherwise," said Giambra. "I just had a physical exam at Roswell and I'm five years out. I'm physically capabable -- I'm not sure about mentally these days -- but I'm at least physically capable of carrying out my term and I look forward to the challenge."

Giambra added that during his remaining three years, he will push for reforms. To start, he says he's ending patronage hiring in his administration. And his $81,000 personal aid, Victor Getz will be transferred to another department. But Giambra delivered the news only after first making bitter remarks about some of his harshest critics. He called Democrats Lynn Marinelli and Al DeBenedetti hypocrites for criticizing patronage hiring. Giambra says DeBenedetti has a personal vendetta because his wife lost her appointed post.

"That's Joel being personal. I've not brought up any of those things," said DeBenedetti. "That's not the motivation for any of this. And it's a sad commentary on him that he has to resort to that kind of nonsense again."

Giambra acknowledged there are tensions between him and members of both parties. But he disputed claims that his decision to not seek re-election has anything to do with the divisions within his own party.