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Sheriff Argues Against "Unacceptable Reductions"

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – In compliance with a State Supreme Court order, the Erie County Legislature began hearings Monday with elected officials who are defending their budgets.

Sheriff Patrick Gallivan was the first of the four elected officials to make his case for funding his department. State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Makowski had ordered lawmakers to hear once again from the county officials before enacting budget cuts.

At issue is the last round of cuts made on February 17th. That slashes $8 million from the four departments.

Gallivan said his budget cannot sustain such "unacceptable reductions." He gave an overview of some 1,000 mandated duties that are required of his office and money needed to pay for them.

Among them, Gallivan said, is acting as the "conservator of the peace" in the county. And that requires road patrols, putting deputies out in the community where serious criminal offenses occur. The last round of cuts would have eliminated half of the road patrols.

Lawmakers were also scheduled to hear Monday from Erie County Clerk David Swarts. Tuesday, District Attorney Frank Clark and Comptroller Nancy Naples will defend their budgets.

The judge has ordered the Legislature to finalize the budget by this Thursday.