The politics of the Erie County Water Authority

Commissioner of Water Authority up for grabs

Matt Moran
July 20, 2018 - 5:00 am

WBEN Photo/Matt Moran

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) -Five candidates were interviewed by the Erie County Legislature Thursday. They are looking to fill the open spot on the three-member County Water Authority Board.

Because currently the two members are both democrats. The Legislature by law must nominate someone from the other party. Democrat Patrick Burke says he will vote against any candidate the Legislature decides on.

"It's not about these individuals, I think we have two good individuals there right now who are making real reforms," Legislator Burke said. "It's about a system that is dated and needs to be changed."

Legislator Burke says a full analysis of reform must be done on the Water Authority. Conservative and Minority Leader Joe Lorigo says they hope to find a qualified candidate. 

"It's done to prevent corruption and patronage being rampant not a control," Legislator Lorigo said. "We've been talking about change in the Water Authority and we'll continue to look at that but now we have to work within the constraints we are given."

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says politics is ingrained in the Water Authority. He believes the proper step is to add more members than the designed three. 

"More people, more eyes on the board it becomes less political," County Executive Poloncarz said.

Legislator Lorigo does not believe adding members is the best way to reform. It is about finding the best candidate.

"We need to get good, qualified, honest and transparent people who are doing the work of the ratepayers not their political party bosses," Legislator Lorigo said.

The County Legislature is expected to make their nomination next week.

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