© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Appellate Court Overturns Makowski Budget Injunctions

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – It's a whole new world for county lawmakers. The Fourth Department Appellate Court in Rochester Wednesday vacated Makowski's temporary injunction on the last round of budget cuts for elected officials.

The new ruling makes Makowski's order null and void. That means lawmakers are free -- at least for now -- to do what they wish with $8 million of cuts to the budgets of the Sheriff, the District Attorney, the Clerk and Comptroller.

Joseph Sedita is an attorney for District Attorney Frank Clark. Sedita believed Makowski's ruling was sound. But the attorney added that nothing is surprising in this case.

"As we all noted in our arguments, these are unusual cases. There are new considerations that haven't been addressed by the courts," Sedita said. "So, it's always possible for some judge or group of judges to have a different view."

Sedita says the new ruling is only a temporary setback. The full trial in the case, expected to take a week, begins Monday. Any lay offs in those departments wouldn't go into effect for two weeks.

Lawmakers still need to vote on lay offs. And elected officials aren't the only ones wondering what to expect. The actual numbers and the logistics of who gets cut are pretty murky. Skip Earhardt, who is CSEA President for Social Services, cited vacancies as one example.

"There were 600 or 700 vacant positions that were counted in various county departments toward their targeted cuts. Today, they're not being counted. I'm confused," Earhardt said.

And he's not the only one. County workers, residents, lawyers and lawmakers have been scratching their heads for months trying to find an end to the crisis. Despite the Judge's cancelled deadline, lawmakers are still expected to finalize the budget Thursday to stem the growing budget gap.