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Hard Control Board Looms in Erie County

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority was scheduled to meet Thursday, possibly to change the face of local government.

Members were to weigh their options for dealing with a past due four-year plan. One of those options is for the advisory board to become a so-called hard control board. Lawmakers wanted to wait until after the election to muster the necessary votes for the 2006 budget and the four-year plan.

There had been no outward objection from the control board to that schedule. But the board now appears unwilling to wait. Democratic Majority Leader Lynn Marinelli says she doesn't know what went wrong.

"They'll have to answer to that," Marinelli said. "We had their executive director before our government affairs committee to review the four year plan."

A further review of the four year plan is scheduled for Friday with the control board's financial consultants, the PFM group. Cooperation between the board and lawmakers began to deteriorate after controversy sparked over PFM's high fees and political connections.

Marinelli says she's been talking with her colleagues and control board members trying to halt a vote for a hard control board.