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Candidates Trade Charges over Hiring Family and Friends

By Mark Scott


Buffalo, NY – The Democratic candidates for Erie County Executive traded charges over the hiring of family and friends during a one hour debate Thursday night sponsored by Time Warner Cable.

West Seneca Town Supervisor Paul Clark has aired television ads pointing to the number of family members of his opponent James Keane who are employed in the public sector. During the one-hour debate that was presented Friday morning on WBFO, our Assistant News Director Eileen Buckley questioned the candidates about the so-called "friends and family" plan.

Keane said members of his family who are working in government had to pass civil service exams to get their positions. But Clark claimed that people who are connected to politicians have an advantage over other test takers when it comes to the selection process. He said it's called the "squeeze." In his words, "if you got the squeeze, you get the job."

Former Buffalo Mayor Jim Griffin said he hired his brother, sister and children to jobs in City Hall during his 16 years in office. He said he sees nothing wrong with the practice.

On other issues, all three candidates supported the new downtown Buffalo casino. And while Keane said elected leaders need to find a way to say yes to Bass Pro, Clark questioned the $25 million expenditure of public money to bring the retailer to the city's waterfront.

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