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Two Thousand County Employees Face Layoffs

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – It will be another busy day for those trying to resolve Erie County's fiscal crisis.

While County Executive Joel Giambra continues his vacation in Florida with his family, his second-in-command is trying to sort out the budget crisis. Deputy County Executive Bruce Fisher says Giambra Administration commissioners must submit their department cuts to the Legislature by 12noon Tuesday.

Two thousand county workers will lose their jobs. Fisher says the $108 million in budget cuts left behind a complicated mess.

"We are going to point out to the Legislature that there are areas where it doesn't work," Fisher said.

"What is going to happen is functions are not going to occur. And there are real consequences. It is not just the highly visible things like the parks."

Fisher says the drastic budget cuts will affect evidence collection used in prosecuting cases. And he says a federally mandated program for at-risk children is now in jeopardy.

"There is a mandate for the $55 million federal grant that there be local funding in order to continue that program. The program is mandatory. It is federal law, we have to pay for it," Fisher said. "So we are going to have to find another million to cut somewhere else in order to keep the federally mandated program going."

Fisher says the County Executive has trimmed $400,000 from his department. Giambra will loss his press secretary, two senior executive assistants and some members of the administrative staff under the budget cuts.