MAY 29, 2009
Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo), Chair of the Community Enrichment Committee, is announcing the overwhelming passage of a measure to assess the initial impact on the cultural community regarding alterations made by the Collins administration to the Erie County funding process.
She is holding a meeting of her committee at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 4, in the Erie County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of 92 Franklin Street in Buffalo, to continue the dialogue on cultural funding in the 2010 Erie County Budget.
"At the April 30th meeting of my committee, Holly Sinnott, Commissioner of Environment and Planning, offered to return to the Legislature and provide a full briefing on the overhaul of ECCRAB, in essence the initial phases of the cultural funding process," Legislator Grant said. "Of course, the Erie County Legislature is the final arbiter in the budget process and, as such, is keenly interested in the Administration's adoption of new county policies that seem to evidence a marked departure from the community-focused, politically independent processes of the past."
Of special concern to Legislator Grant are the lack of ethnic diversity, sparse representation from the cultural community and the apparent muted voice of urban interests among the 12 members of the Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board (ECCRAB). In addition, ECCRAB's by-laws call for a 25-member organization. Given the substantially reduced number, the Administration should make a greater effort to recruit African-American and Latino members to represent these large constituencies in our community, according to Grant.
Legislator Grant has also asked the new head of ECCRAB, Joseph Dispenza, to attend the June 4 meeting. She welcomes cultural organizations to attend and listen to the open, productive dialogue on this important public policy issue.