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County Legislature Rejects Key Charter Change

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County will not be getting a professional county manager -- at least not any time soon. Lawmakers Thursday voted the proposal down.

Eight months of work has ended for the Erie County Charter Review Commission. And many commissioners walked out of legislature chambers shaking their heads. Former UB President and Commissioner Bill Greiner says the loss of a county manager is a loss for the community.

He and others pointed to flaws in the process. Commissioners say there was no opportunity to talk with lawmakers as a body. And they say there was no public deliberation among lawmakers themselves. Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli bristled at the suggestion of an open meetings law violation.

Most of the 30 items that were approved Thursday won't require a voter referendum -- only matters that involve elected office. There were several measures that grant greater power to the Comptrolller. Majority Leader Maria White says that's where the real change was needed.

Lawmakers also finally approved $12.2 million of capital borrowing. And they voted to give the Board of Elections an additional $2.2 million to cover expenses for the new elections law.

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