Bee News Guest Editorial - First 100 days in office marked by progress

April 12, 2012

 In electing me as your Erie County executive, you rejected the idea that government is a business and therefore should be run like one. Since that day, through the transition and over my first 100 days in office, I have worked to change the culture of Erie County government. As comptroller, I understood that creating a better county government isn’t about spending more money, but using the resources you have as wisely as possible.

I firmly believe that county government serves an important role and we should return it to its core mission: provide the programs and services that residents and taxpayers demand as effectively and efficiently as possible. We have worked to do that by restoring vital programs such as rodent control and the day care subsidy, both of which leverage state and federal resources to provide an exceptional value to the community.

I said that promoting job creation and economic development would be a top priority of my administration, and over the past 100 days we have made real progress. We have been working with our partners in state government to reform a local Industrial Development Agency system run amok. It is my goal to make these agencies accountable to the taxpayers, whose dollars they hand out, for fostering real job creation and economic growth rather than simply relocating existing businesses. We have begun to build a relationship with our Canadian friends that goes beyond simply being shoppers in our malls to truly investing in our community. I believe that for my administration to be successful, it must be guided by partnership rather than partisanship.

That means working with your partners in the community and across every level of government — whether that’s with the Legislature majority and minority to expedite the approval for the county’s 2012 capital program in order to begin construction projects across Erie County sooner than they have been in years, or coordinating a historic effort among all of the county’s 44 municipalities to submit a joint application to create one of the state’s first land banks and finally address our growing vacant property problem.

Additionally, I believe it is the public’s right to know the process of governmental decision making, and it is an expressed goal of my administration to create a more open and transparent Erie County government. This effort started immediately in fighting to restore cuts to the independent Comptroller’s Office and in issuing executive orders in the public eye rather than internal memos.

Over the past 100 days, we have achieved many things; however, there is still much work to be done. I look forward to meeting those challenges ahead. When our work is done, let those who come after us see that we stopped talking about the future we hope for and started taking action to get there by making decisions to do what was right, though difficult, over what was easy but wrong.