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May 2014 Column - Majority Caucus improving efficiency within Legislature


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislator Edward Rath is providing an update to residents concerning repairs on Hopkins Road between Tonawanda Creek Road and Smith Road.

At today’s Finance and Management Committee, members of the Legislature questioned Edwin Gonsiorek, Director of Weights and Measures, whose division was the subject of an investigation by the Comptroller’s Office. Unfortunately, only...

Legislator Edward Rath, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, honored Erie County Sheriff Deputy Richard Lundberg Jr. and Deputy Robert Ellis at the Nov. 6, 2014 session for their heroism and service to the community. The deputies are credited...

The Erie County Legislature’s majority caucus asked residents to weigh in on the recommended salary increases for elected officials, and a large majority said they do not support raises. In an online poll, 85 percent of voters answered...

Erie County Legislators Edward Rath and Thomas Loughran, who co-represent the Town of Amherst, are extremely disappointed by the action taken by Joel Giambra to stop construction of the proposed $30-million "STEM" building at Erie Community...

oneilj - Posted on 07 May 2014

As the fiscal house for Erie County, I was happy to support an audit of the Legislature to ensure we were operating as efficiently as possible. Last week the Comptroller’s Office released its findings, highlighting inappropriate expenses and improper contract practices under Democratic leadership. While it was concerning to learn of missteps in the past, I am pleased to report that many of those wrongdoings have already been corrected by the new Republican Majority of the Legislature. 

The inappropriate expenditures totaled a small percentage of the total budget but as stewards of taxpayer dollars we must be sure that every expenditure is appropriate. The Comptroller’s Office estimated that up to $70,000 in taxpayer money over the past 5 years was misspent by past Democratic Leadership. The audit found that the Legislature budget was used to purchase personal items, cakes and flowers, which I don’t agree with. Also, contracts were entered into wrongly. The terms were agreed upon by staff members, who aren’t authorized to enter into contracts, and resulted in wasteful spending.  

The Republican Majority has successfully terminated several improper contracts and recovered money from various companies. The Legislature is operating much more efficiently in the past four months and I expect a savings to be returned at the end of the year. The entire audit is available on the Legislature website by visiting www.erie.gov/legislature.  

In other county matters, there are a few events coming up that residents may be interested in participating in.  

The county’s first Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at Erie Community College’s North Campus. Attendees are asked to enter from Wehrle Drive and follow the posted signs to the drop-off location. For a list of acceptable items, please visit my website or contact my office.  

Also, on Tuesday, May 13 I am hosting a Business Forum at ECC’s North Campus in the Gleaser Hall Auditorium, 6205 Main St., at 6 p.m. Held in partnership with Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen; Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler; Empire State Development WNY Regional Director Christina Orsi; and ECIDA President and CEO Steven Weathers, the event will include a presentation from each of these critical agencies on the future of economic development and growth in Erie County.  

Finally, I am happy to join the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women in announcing that 2014 Miss America Nina Davuluri will be speaking at a luncheon on Thursday, May 15 at the Twentieth Century Club, 595 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Luncheon tickets are $45 and are available by calling 858-8307 or by visiting www.missamerica2014.eventbrite.com. Davuluri was the first contestant of Asian Indian descent to earn the crown and will be speaking about her platform, Celebrating Diversity Through Cultural Competency."