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June 2016 Column - Reforming County Government


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.

At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.

Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.

Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.

Every 10 years an independent commission of volunteers dedicates hours to review and revise the county charter, the document under which Erie County government operates. This is an incredibly important document that sets the framework for the operation of the entire county including its elected officials.

Last year the Legislature passed a local law to reinstate the Erie County Charter Review Commission. In summary, the purpose of the commission was to conduct a decennial review of the Erie County Charter.

Comprised of 19 citizens, the commission was charged with reviewing and proposing updates to the County Charter to ensure the public is best being served. Starting in January, the group had numerous meetings and public hearing to review everything from the budget to the Legislature to the executive departments.

The members of the commission, who were unpaid, put in countless hours and took their work seriously, finalizing their recommendations for the Legislature on May 15, 2016. I’d like to thank the members of the commission for their dedication and hard work. Many of them sacrificed time off from their employment and time from their families in order to ensure the job was done and I am grateful for their work. I appreciate all of the fresh, new ideas being brought forth to ensure efficient county government while maintaining the high quality services our residents expect and deserve.

Now the Legislature is reviewing the recommendations and will soon be deciding which proposals will be included in a local law that will ultimately be put on the November ballot, where you have the final say. A public hearing on the matter will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the Legislature Chambers, 92 Franklin Street, 4th Floor, Buffalo.  To review all of the recommended changes, please visit my website at where I have provided a link to the commission’s website.  

On a different topic, in August I’ll be continuing an annual tradition where I visit 25 Businesses in 25 Days. Last year I spent several days walking the shops of Central Avenue in Lancaster, visiting the different merchants in the Village of Alden, and checking out some of the wonderful restaurants throughout Alden, Cheektowaga, Depew, and Lancaster. This is an opportunity for me to meet with local businesses owners throughout the district to learn about the different issues impacting them so that we can find ways to help our businesses grow.

I enjoy getting to know residents and business owners to ensure I have my ear to the ground on the issues impacting our community so I can best represent you in the Legislature. If you have any recommendations on businesses I should stop by and see, please give my office a call.

I also want to thank everyone who participated in my annual blood drive with Unyts, there is a constant need in our community and every effort helps to save lives.

As always, if I can ever be of assistance, please call me at 858-8856 or email