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Professional County Management Pushed Again

By Joyce Kryszak

Williamsville, NY – A proposal to bring professional management to Erie County government might not be dead.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Last week, the legislature, saying it was too expensive, rejected a charter revision recommendation that would have added a professional county manager to county government.

But yesterday, the five lawmakers who supported the measure said they weren't giving up.

They submitted a resolution that would not add a new position or any extra cost. But it would require the deputy county executive to have the same professional credentials as a county manager.

Democratic Legislator Cynthia Locklear is among those pushing for the change.

Joining Locklear in the effort are lawmakers from both parties - Kathy Konst (D), Barry Weinstein (R), John Mills (R) and Michael Ranzenhofer (R).

The ten Democratic lawmakers who voted down the charter revision commission's original recommendation cited extra cost as the main factor.

The decision meant the recommendation would not go before voters. The new resolution will be voted on by lawmakers next Thursday. If defeated again, the measure would die.

Weinstein said they have seven days to persuade their colleagues that leaving it up to the public is the right thing to do.

Supporters of the job description change for the Deputy County Executive say the person who currently holds the job, Bruce Fisher, would not meet the new requirements.

The resolution calls for a national job search to hire a person who is professionally credentialed and experienced in county management. The appointment would be subject to legislative approval.