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ECWA Chairman says he doesn't know who authorized full-page newspaper notice

Mike Desmond

A lot of people in Erie County are interested in the Erie County Water Authority. They get their water from the system, which covers much of the county. The authority is also a long-controversial source of political patronage, essentially its entire half-century. It brought more attention to itself with a recent full-page ad in the Buffalo News.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Current ECWA Chair Jerome Schad was recently given another three-year term, even when some members of the Erie County Legislature wanted him fired last year. Schad said the full page wasn't expected, but the authority did purchased the newspaper ad.

"It's a public notice requirement with the change in our bylaws. It's in a sense not much different than other required notices that get published in the newspapers, all the time," Schad said. "I'm not quite sure who decided to make it in a full-page format. That may have been somebody internally, in terms of spacing issues, but it is basically to memorialize the the change in our bylaws."

Schad said the bylaws are not changed much.

"It's basically more detail," he said. "We have references to our ethics policy. We have some procedures regarding operation of meetings and things being on the agenda, even at the request of a minority member, so that the majority cannot keep something off the agenda."

Schad said, historically, the bylaws have read that the chair basically had exclusive control of the agenda.

"With no provision whatsover in any formal procedure for a minority member to insist that something goes on the agenda," he said, "and that's one of the things that we wanted to correct, going forward."

Schad said the board's next action is to fill a special panel to provide ethics advice to the board and its members.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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