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Campaigning for Top Erie County Legislature Post Begins

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County lawmakers Thursday worked through a long agenda trying to wrap up some items before year's end. But at least two lawmakers are already looking ahead to the first order of business for the 2006 legislature.

Erie County Legislature Chairman George Holt was relaxed as he began Thursday's session - with perhaps a bit of campaigning. He smiled easily and even took time to recognize a young boy from Hamburg who came to observe the proceedings.

"This helps me keep those south towns' votes...," said Holt.

It was a good - if atypically session to observe. Lawmakers efficiently and swiftly moved through a full agenda.

Among the businesss addressed,lawmakers unanimously extended the Charter Review Committee's timetable from mid-April 2006 to July 15. They also approved borrowing on future tobacco revenues, possibly to buffer a potential court loss to the county medical center.

Holt said the meeting is an example of why he should get another shot at being Chair.

"All I'm asking for is one more year. Hopefully, next year things could start running as smoothly as it has been running for, the last, let's say, two months. We've been doing a great job."

But Democratic Majority Leader Lynn Marinelli thinks she should be the chairperson.

Marinelli said she has the experience to navigate the troubled fiscal waters ahead.

Marinelli and Holt do claim different strengths. Holt calls himself a team player, while Marinelli is analytical.

Their different styles were in evidence Thursday. Holt says he does not have a problem with County Executive Joel Giambra naming his Deputy Executive, Bruce Fisher to the Library Board. But Marinelli believes the matter needs more review.

"I would expect a few of us have some questions about a deputy county executive being appointed to a library board - but let that be publicly discussed and questioned too," said Marinelli.

She added, "it's not so much about the person who holds that, it's the title of it, and how do you report back to yourself."

The matter was sent to committee, with a decision expected later this month. But it will be January before the vote comes deciding who will lead the legislature in 2006. Neither Holt or Marinelli will say what support they've been offered. But both will undoubtedly keep asking. And there are newcomers to the legislature who may also want the job.