Modified: June 10, 2021 12:10pm
Erie County Legislators Joe Lorigo, Frank Todaro, Chris Greene, and John Mills voted in support of a resolution to remove emergency authority held by the County Executive throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minority Caucus began pushing to revoke the emergency powers three months ago and met resistance from both the Administration and Majority Caucus. After several discussions and debate in recent weeks, a resolution to remove the authority unanimously passed the Legislature Thursday afternoon. Removed authority includes a total revocation of the original emergency powers resolution passed in June of 2020 and the elimination of two budget resolutions that permitted the County Executive to spend money and enter into contracts without following normal legislative protocol. Normal protocol requires legislative approval and an RFP process on any, non-budgeted, contract or expenditure in excess of $10,000. This emergency power revocation is a major step for returning fiscal control to the Legislative Branch of Erie County Government and a sign that we are on the road to getting back to normal.
Legislator Lorigo said, “It’s long overdue, but I am glad we are moving forward with revoking the County Executive’s emergency authority. The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic is long gone. COVID cases are at an all-time low and we are returning to normalcy. Part of that return to normalcy is restoring the powers of the legislative branch. When it comes to allocating taxpayer dollars, the Legislature must have a seat at the table and we are finally getting that back.”
Legislator Todaro said, “I’m glad we can all agree it’s time for the County Executive to hand over the keys and restore the function of County government as it is intended. Many people have been vaccinated and COVID cases have dropped tremendously. I look forward to resuming the appropriate legislative process here in County Hall.”
Legislator Greene said, “Executive authority is no longer necessary. My colleagues and I have been fighting to remove the emergency authority for three months and we have finally reached that goal. As legislators, we need to have our voices restored and we need to get back to business as usual.”
Legislator Mills said, “It’s finally time we get back to our regular system of checks and balances. In the beginning of the pandemic, the executive authority was granted to make quick decisions in a time of emergency. That same urgency no longer exists and it hasn’t for quite some time. In Erie County, we have made huge strides in fighting COVID-19 and case numbers have dropped significantly. One-sided decision making is no longer necessary. As legislators, we need to have a voice in how your tax dollars are spent.”