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    Control board

    GOVERNOR, SENATE, ASSEMBLY ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT TO CREATE ERIE COUNTY FISCAL STABILITY AUTHORITY


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    Would Provide Oversight and Give County Opportunity to Improve Fiscal Condition

    Governor George E. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced agreement on legislation that will create the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (ECFSA). The new panel will provide Erie County with immediate financial oversight while giving local leaders the ability to improve the County's fiscal condition without further State intervention.

    "The creation of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority recognizes the need for the State to provide oversight of the County's finances, but most importantly it provides local leaders the opportunity and incentives to address the County's fiscal challenges on their own," Governor Pataki said.

    "We've reached bipartisan agreement at the State level on a plan that offers the County a road map to fiscal stability and now it's time for everyone at the County level to work together to achieve that goal."

    "We're hopeful that County leaders and lawmakers will seize this opportunity to take the fiscally-responsible actions necessary to get Erie's finances in balance. But we've also made clear that we are prepared to protect Erie County taxpayers by implementing strict State oversight of the County's finances if this opportunity is squandered," the Governor added.

    Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, "This Fiscal Stability Authority is a common sense solution to provide stability and protection for the already overburdened taxpayers and address the fiscal problems of Erie County. Local officials have a great deal of work to do to climb out of a deep financial hole and restore the confidence of hardworking taxpayers. I'm confident this Board will be able to provide the guidance necessary to attain this goal."

    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "By establishing this authority, I'm confident that Erie County will be able to get its financial house in order and restore stability to its fiscal operations. I believe that this level of rigorous oversight is the best way to ensure that the hard working people of Erie County receive nothing less than a financially sound government capable of fulfilling all its obligations and responsibilities."

    Senator Dale Volker said, "The time is now for the Erie County Legislature and the County Executive to work in a cooperative manner to remedy the financial dilemma facing Erie County taxpayers and the essential services they depend upon. The creation of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority will provide the needed tools, incentives and financial resources in order for them to make the difficult decisions that they will be currently facing. I firmly believe that this legislation is a fair approach in bringing financial stability to Erie County, and will ensure that future county budgets are fiscally conservative, structurally balanced and in the best interest of the taxpayers of Erie County."

    Senator Mary Lou Rath said, "The creation of a control board will give the people of Erie County confidence that their government will be able to recover from the $118 million deficit. Relief from this fiscal crisis is urgent."

    Assembly Majority Leader Paul Tokasz said, "This Fiscal Stability Authority is necessary to ensure that Erie County pays attention to Erie County and not other troubled counties. We cannot afford to allow our county government to lose its focus and mismanage itself into another financial disaster. This is about regaining financial integrity and delivering to the county's taxpayers the services and protections they are entitled to."

    Under the agreed upon legislation, the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority would begin its work in an advisory role, similar to the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA). The Board would be responsible for reviewing and approving a financial plan submitted by the County.

    Under terms of the agreement announced today, Erie County would be required to meet the goals outlined in its financial plan. If it does not meet those objectives, the Control Board would have the authority to freeze wages, approve all contracts, and put in place other fiscal control powers. The Control period would be imposed if the County fails to adopt an on-time, balanced budget; fails to pay debt service; incurs an operating deficit of more than one percent; loses access to market for borrowing; or violates provisions of the Fiscal Stability Act.

    Creation of the Authority also makes available new State efficiency incentive funding for Erie County, providing $50 million in grants over five years. The City of Buffalo would also be eligible for this critically-important incentive aid.

    Under specifics of the plan outlined by the Governor and Legislature, Erie County would be required to adhere to the following financial conditions:

    Receive approval of a four-year financial plan outlining a return to fiscal stability by October 1, 2005 in order for ECFSA to assist the county with up to $120 million in 2005 deficit financing backed by the county sales tax; and
    Close increasing portions of future year projected gaps: 35 percent in 2006, growing to 80 percent in 2009. ECFSA finances the remaining budget gaps through locally backed revenues.
    The Board would be comprised of seven members, four directly appointed by the Governor and the remaining three appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the Assembly and the State Comptroller. Four members of the Board must be residents of Erie County. ###

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    Members

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    July 18, 2005
    GOVERNOR, COMPTROLLER, SENATOR BRUNO ANNOUNCE MEMBERS OF ERIE COUNTY FISCAL STABILITYAUTHORITY


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    Panel Will Work to Improve County Finances, Ensure Long-Term Fiscal Health

    Governor George E. Pataki, State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno today announced their appointments to the newly-created Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority -- a panel created by the Governor and Legislature that will work with Erie County to improve its finances and ensure the County's long-term fiscal health.

    "These members are all highly-qualified New Yorkers who have distinguished themselves in business, public service and their communities," Governor Pataki said. "By agreeing to be part of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, these members will provide Erie County with immediate financial expertise and oversight and help local leaders address the County's fiscal challenges. I am confident they will perform their work with the utmost professionalism, energy and dedication."

    State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi said, "Erie County is facing a serious fiscal crisis after years of irresponsible fiscal management and needs experienced, courageous leadership to resolve this financial mess. This is why I am nominating Janet Penksa to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority. Janet has more than 20 years of budgetary, government and management experience. She has led top-level budget negotiations, has a track record of building consensus among groups with diverse needs, and a reputation for candor and honesty. I have no doubt that she will distinguish herself even further in this new and critical position."

    Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, "The Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority will play a critically important role in helping the county address its financial problems. The members of the Authority have the necessary expertise to provide oversight and accountability of county finances, restore taxpayer confidence and get Erie County headed in the right direction."

    Senator Dale M. Volker said, "Stanley J. Keysa is a practicing attorney, a former Town Supervisor of Lancaster, and a former Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Economic Development of Erie County. He is someone who I have tremendous respect for and trust. He is a consensus builder and has a firm understanding of government at the local and county level. The facts are clear that Erie County towns and villages will be impacted by the looming county financial crisis and the need for someone to have the in-depth knowledge in the inner workings of local governments will be critically important. I believe that Stanley J. Keysa will be a fine addition to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority and profoundly complement the board with his dedication, devotion and commitment to Erie County and its taxpayers."

    Under legislation signed into law last week by the Governor that creates the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, the Authority will begin its work in an advisory role, similar to the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA). The Board will be responsible for reviewing and approving a financial plan submitted by the County, and ensuring the County adheres to a series of objectives outlined in that plan.

    If Erie County does not meet those objectives, the Control Board would have the authority to freeze wages, approve all contracts, and put in place other fiscal control powers. The Board is comprised of seven members, four directly appointed by the Governor and the remaining three upon the recommendation of the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the Assembly and the State Comptroller.

    The new members of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority are:

    Ned Regan (Governor Appointee) who will serve as Chairman: A former four-term Comptroller of the State of New York and former President of CUNY's Baruch College. Regan has also served as a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation, the board that is responsible for overseeing and selecting the members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Regan is an alumnus of Hobart College and earned a law degree from the State University of New York School of Law.

    P. David Campbell (Governor Appointee) who will serve as Vice-Chairman: Former President and CEO of Dunlop Tire Corporation, a North American sales and manufacturing company with headquarters in Buffalo. Campbell assumed the President and CEO positions after the company had suffered ten consecutive years of financial losses. He built a new value culture and management team and returned the company to profitability after one year. Campbell played an important role in preparing, negotiating and implementing the sale of Dunlop on a global basis to Goodyear Tire and Rubber, and retired from Dunlop in April 2001 after a 32-year career.

    John A. Johnson (Governor Appointee): Commissioner of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). Johnson has served as Executive Director of the Office for University Preparatory Programs at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has also served as special assistant for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has served on numerous boards of community organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Erie County Community College Academy and the NYS Housing Trust Fund Board. In 1998, Governor Pataki appointed Commissioner Johnson as chairman of the Erie County Stadium Corporation, which was established to implement the $95 million Erie County Stadium civic project, a major economic development initiative.

    Stanley Keysa (Senate Appointee): A former Erie County planning Board chairman and economic development head who served two decades as supervisor of the Town of Lancaster. Keysa, an attorney, has served as a village judge and is the Cayuga District Chairman of the Greater Niagara Frontier Council.

    Janet Penksa (Comptroller Appointee): Associate Vice President for University Services at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. Prior to coming to UB, Penksa served as Vice President for the Center for Health Policy Studies in Albany. Penksa has 14 years of experience working with the New York State Assembly, most recently as Secretary to the Ways and Means Committee. She was chief advisor and lead negotiator for Assembly leadership on all fiscal and economic matters, as well as being responsible for final preparation of the state budget.

    Carole Stone (Governor Appointee): Former Director of the New York State Division of the Budget. As Budget Director, Stone played a vital role in stabilizing and strengthening New York State's finances following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. She also advanced proposals that helped restore fiscal responsibility to State government, reduce the tax burden on businesses and taxpayers, and secure the State's highest credit rating in 24 years. She has won national recognition for her outstanding achievements as a Budget professional, including a number of awards for her fiscal management skills. ###
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    Up to speed

    Trying for chronological order but they may not happen. I will post what I find.

    Erie County control board using Buffalo control board staff
    Aug 10, 2005 - Buffalo and Erie County have different financial control boards, but they do have some things in common.

    One state lawmaker says that the county advisory board is using city control board staff, and that the city should be reimbursed.

    The city's Commissioner of Human Resources put this sign on his door, saying my control board is tougher than your control board. Leonard Materese said it’s gotten plenty of laughs.

    “I woke up in the middle of the night and the idea came to me,” said Materese. “I wish some ideas to make a lot of money for the city would come to me in the middle of the night like that.”

    While the city and county control boards don't have toughness in common, they do share staff, according to New York State Assmeblyman Sam Hoyt. He says the county control board is using the city control board’s staff.

    “I maintain that as long as Buffalo is incurring costs with helping [the] control board they need to be reimbursed for those expenses,” said Hoyt.

    Erie County advisory board member Sheila Kee says she believes the city should be compensated and will bring it up at the next meeting, scheduled for August 18. The Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority continues to work in an advisory role, but will get more power if county lawmakers can't put together a working four-year plan.

    “They have to develop the political will and I am hopful,” said Assemblyman Paul Tokasz.

    “The question is: is the county going to come up with its own plan?” said State Senator Dale Volker. “Probably not. It would be nice but probably not. They will probably have to get the authority of the control board.”

    Which means this sign would have to come down, but according to Materese, tough worked out fine.

    “We are proud of our tough control board,” said Materese. “They are tough but we have a good group of people on that control board they have been very successful.”

    And Assemblyman Hoyt sent this letter to control board chairman Ned Regan, asking for compensation

    http://www.wkbw.com/budget/default.a...&NStoryID=5345


    October 3, 2005 - Control Board Chairman Ned Regan if Democrats in the Erie County Legislature get their tax increases, they may not want to do any more government reforming.

    Regan said, "If they get the tax money, then the will and incentive to reform inside might disappear, so, we're talking something quite serious."

    But the Control Board's own consultants have recommended a 50 percent tax hike, and deficit borrowing.

    Erie County Comptroller Jim Hartman says Regan's comments are off base in his criticism.

    Hartman said, "That criticism has been that somehow the legislators ignored expense opportunities, and simply voted for tax increases. That is not the case."

    Control Board members Sheila Kee likes the Legislatures' plan, and believes Republicans should go along with it.

    Kee said, "I am going to ask my colleagues to reach out to those seven people at the County Legislature who keep saying no, who do not do anything to help solve this problem. I want all 15 on board."

    Republicans have insisted that deeper government reform should come before tax increases.

    Dr. Barry Weinstein, Republican Legislator, Amherst, said,"Control Board Chairman Ned Regan appears to be agreeing with the Republican minority position that we need more cost savings upfront. $68 million dollars in the fourth year, doesn't cut it."

    On Friday, the Legislature's Finance Committee Chairman Demone Smith said Republicans will never vote for any plan, because they want the Control Board to take on more power.

    Governor Pataki has 4 of 7 appointees on the board.

    Lawmaker Barry Winstein says there's no conspiracy here, but that he believes a hard control board is the only way to get county government downsized and reformed.
    http://www.wivb.com/Global/story.asp...1&nav=menu41_1

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    Reported on channel 2 news at 11:00pm
    EC control board chairman, Ned Regan, met with EC Republican legislators today to discuss the reform of EC government. Indications are that he wants more cuts from the legislature before any tax increase will be excepted. Think they may have been reading SpeakUpWNY?
    Legislator Dr. Barry Wienstien(sp) told reporter htat he does not believe there are ten votes to pass the proposed tax increases in Joel Giambras plan.

    Looks as if we may have some headway towards a hard control board

  5. #5
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    So we need to push it along eh?

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    I watched the news last night and heard Mr. Ratzenhofer equate the county (and its employees) to the Delphi situation. While Delphi & GM's upper and middle management obtained millions of dollars in bonuses and incentives for many years (including this year) they want the employees to take a substantial cut in pay and benefits. Mismanagement of funds by large companies and their irresponsible acts can not parallel the existence of the regular every day work (and yes those government employees that do not abuse the system). People are willing to pay 100's of dollars to attend sporting and other entertainment events, but balk at paying for proper governmental services.

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    Posted by forreason
    People are willing to pay 100's of dollars to attend sporting and other entertainment events, but balk at paying for proper governmental services.
    Two points:

    1) People spend their money as they see fit and no government should try to tell them they need to change those habits. Just so the government can perpetuate it's own existance at the levels it chooses. People have a choice to spend or not to spend when it comes to such things as you have described. Not so with their government. Pay us or we take your home/buisness or force high penalties upon you if you do not.

    2) People are willing to pay for proper and efficient services. Not bloated systems of corruption and waste as we have in EC.

    If you want to see real change and action from the government employees. Open up all services to fair competition from the private industry.

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    Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Last evening, members of the Erie County Control Board met with members of the legislature's Republican caucus in an effort to help ward off a potential budget vote stalemate.

    It's currently the seven GOP lawmakers who are against the half-penny hike in the sales tax included in the 2006 budget. After the meeting, no one indicated they would be changing their votes, but Control Board Chairman Ned Regan says the Republicans have the right idea.

    "They've been filing resolutions and had plenty of their own ideas, but they say, as a minority, they haven't been getting anywhere," said Control Board Chair Ned Regan. "They're willing to help us, and we're willing to help them"

    Minority Leader Michael Ranzenhoffer told WBEN the public has always been on the side of cuts before taxes, and he's happy to have allies on the Control Board.

  9. #9
    Member citymouse's Avatar
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    It is unfortunate that the majority of voters in Erie County are being overuled in such a unconstitutional an un American manner.
    The majority in the county legislature are the majority because that is what the voter chose. That the minority is combining with an entity that the voters did not elect, that was appointed by some one from outside the area, in order to force it's will on the majority of taxpayers ,who have by majority vote rejected that will, is unconcsionable and possibly illegal.
    The end result of this travisty is to force defict borrowing. Passing the burden down to our children and grand children in the true fashion of the minorities majority brethern in Washington and Albany. Also to lock in a control board consisting of high paying patronage jobs for an extended number of years.
    This is not the will of the majority of taxpayers and is typical of the slime we have to deal with in the minority party in WNY.
    "If you want to know what God thinks of money just look at the people he gave it to."

    By the way, what happened to biker? I miss the old coot.

  10. #10
    Member dtwarren's Avatar
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    CM,

    I do not see it the way you do. At least 7 of the 15 Legislators are lame ducks, more may become lame ducks. At this point in time I truly cannot say that they are representing the people that even voted for them. Lets face it if you know you are going to quit or be fired are you truly going to do what is really in the best interest of your employer? I know in theory you should, but I do not believe that it is reality most of the time.

    If they truly want to do the will of the people then they should not tie the peoples hands. They could put all the sales tax increases and fee increases to a public referendum and then the will of the people would be known with a certainty, but if they do that then they cannot take the positions they are.

    I believe there are sufficient cuts that can be made to avoid a sales tax hike and keep any property tax hike to a low figure, but they are not even going to look because to raise taxes would be easier.
    “I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” – Thomas Jefferson
    https://restore-representation.org/

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    Citymouse:
    You assume that deficit borrowing will happen. It will if the legislature does not make cuts. You would rather raise taxes and fees instead of doing the hard work of cutting and selling.
    The slimes you reffer to are the Republicans who won't bend to the Democrat pressure of do nothing. The real slimes would be thoose who refuse to reform a system that is broke and over paid. Yes that includes management and labor. Both need to have cuts in pay and benies. Cut needless services and inefficiency in operations. Don't bother to bring up the poor and elderly. There is more to cut then programs to those groups only.

    WNY is dying and it is not because are taxes aren't high enough!

  12. #12
    Member 300miles's Avatar
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    Originally posted by citymouse
    It is unfortunate that the majority of voters in Erie County are being overuled in such a unconstitutional an un American manner.
    The majority in the county legislature are the majority because that is what the voter chose. That the minority is combining with an entity that the voters did not elect, that was appointed by some one from outside the area, in order to force it's will on the majority of taxpayers ,who have by majority vote rejected that will, is unconcsionable and possibly illegal.
    Citymouse... 7 of 15 is barely a minority. In fact, only one more vote and they would be the majority.

    It's hardly a travesty that 47% (7 of 15) are standing up for what they feel is right. In fact, it is their job to do so... regardless of whether they are a majority or not. That is how govt works.

    I'm sure you would NEVER use your same logic in national politics. Or you would say "Democrats should just shut up and follow Republicans since Dems are just a minority. It is a travesty that they push their views on the majority of Americans." Do you?

  13. #13
    Member speaker's Avatar
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    Originally posted by citymouse
    It is unfortunate that the majority of voters in Erie County are being overuled in such a unconstitutional an un American manner.
    The majority in the county legislature are the majority because that is what the voter chose. That the minority is combining with an entity that the voters did not elect, that was appointed by some one from outside the area, in order to force it's will on the majority of taxpayers ,who have by majority vote rejected that will, is unconcsionable and possibly illegal.
    The end result of this travisty is to force defict borrowing. Passing the burden down to our children and grand children in the true fashion of the minorities majority brethern in Washington and Albany. Also to lock in a control board consisting of high paying patronage jobs for an extended number of years.
    This is not the will of the majority of taxpayers and is typical of the slime we have to deal with in the minority party in WNY.
    You know, mouse, I've always enjoyed and valued your posts. But you know what, you'd be so much more credible to me if I could feel you were truly unbiased. I don't know what the majority of other posters think, but that's what I think.

  14. #14
    Member citymouse's Avatar
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    The bottom line is we don't need this control board. If you look at the problem and how it was created, you can see how it can be resolved.
    I am not against cutting services to balance the budget. If it is done with out malice and prejudice.
    The last time we were subjected to draconian cuts in vital services because they wanted us to feel the pain and scream for a tax hike. I am not that obtuse that it wasn't apperent to me.
    Taxes were lowered faster and in excess when compared to the services that the County provided. It was done recklessly and was politicaly motivated. Joel wanted to be like Billy Facillo. Every in New York State would know his tax cuts were HUGE-a. He would be Lt. Gov in 2006. Unfortunatley for him, and luckily for us , his house of cards caved in too soon, before he could hoodwink the rest of the state like he did Erie County.
    So we should step back a bit and regroup, If we have toraise taxes for a while and temporarily to start again and try true reform let's do it. We have a new body coming in as you mention. I think they may get the message.
    To me passing it on to future genrations with defict borrowing is a huge mistake. You are just perpetuating the problem.
    No one seems to belive me when I say that defict financing locks in a patronage driven control board that will also cost the tax payer millions we don't need to spend. This control board is about patronage. Those high paying jobs a hardcontrol board will create are a waste of money. We didn't elect this control board, that much I know. They don't represent me and once they get the green light we can't just abitraily decide we don't need them.
    I am sick of patronage jobs on all levels of goverment. I don't care if they come from Masiello, Giambra or Patacki.
    We can solve these problems with out this control board. Many way's, such as reducing the structure of county goverment to what it was in 1960 when we had a board of supervisors, would be a start.
    Erie county has the lowest taxes of any county in the state, but it is only because Joel was seeking higher office and in the true fashion of New York State politics the end result is more borrowing from wall street, and patronage jobs in the form of control board staff.
    Lets redirect the money we would waste on that for the next thirty years and try to resolve this with out spending money we can't afford and don't have to spend.
    "If you want to know what God thinks of money just look at the people he gave it to."

    By the way, what happened to biker? I miss the old coot.

  15. #15
    Member citymouse's Avatar
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    Originally posted by 300miles
    I'm sure you would NEVER use your same logic in national politics. Or you would say "Democrats should just shut up and follow Republicans since Dems are just a minority. It is a travesty that they push their views on the majority of Americans." Do you?

    Well, yeah, Bush used that logic as his "mandate" for Iraq, Terry Schiavo and Judge Roberts didn't he?
    "If you want to know what God thinks of money just look at the people he gave it to."

    By the way, what happened to biker? I miss the old coot.

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