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County Control Board Changes Hiring Freeze, Approves Budget ; County Legislator Weinstein Is Named Deputy Supervisor of Amherst

By Eileen Buckley and Mark Wozniak

Buffalo, NY – All elected officials in Erie County will now have the authority to submit hiring requests directly to the county control board. Until now, all hiring requests had to go through County Executive Joel Giambra. After hearing complaints that Giambra was failing to pass along certain requests, members of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority voted unanimously Thursday to open up the process. The control board enacted the hiring freeze in November.

In other action, members approved the Fiscal Stability Authority's operating budget. But one local union leader says the control board is costing the county too much money.

The board's executive director, Ken Vetter, said control board spending in 2006 was actually ten percent lower than last year. Thursday, board members passed a nearly $1.3 million budget. Vetter says as the board works to keep county spending in check, they, too, are trying to cut payroll and consulting costs.

John Orlando, general vice president of AFSCME, says the control board's more than $1 million budget should be used to pay for other county services.

Vetter believes the authority's budget is prudent.

One other county note. County legislator Barry Weinstein will be named deputy supervisor in Amherst by Town Supervisor Satish Mohan. Town board member Shelly Schratz had lobbied for the job. She says the selection of Weinstein is a conflict of interest, and that Weinstein should resign from the Legislature.

Mohan says he is choosing Weinstein because he plans to run for town board next year.

Weinstein says he will decline a $3,000 stipend that goes with the appointment.