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Judge Upholds Hard Control Period for Erie County

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The Giambra administration's legal challenge of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority's decision to become a hard control board has been rejected in court.

State Supreme Court Justice Diane Devlin ruled the Fiscal Stability Authority followed the law when it voted last November to declare a hard control period for the county. The board believes the 2007 county budget and the county's four-year plan are both based on shaky revenue projections. The board then enacted an immediate hiring freeze.

Executive Director Kenneth Vetter, who once served as the county executive's budget director, said they were expecting an affirmative ruling from the court.

County Attorney Lawrence Rubin declined a recorded interview. But in a written statement, he said an appeal is under discussion.

"Our preliminary read of the decision is that an appeal is appropriate," Rubin said.

Vetter said he hopes it doesn't come to that. He said it's time the administration, Legislature and control board started working together.

This was the second court ruling in the authority's favor. In December, another justice ruled the county's labor unions had no standing in any potential legal action against the control board.

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