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Collins' goal: Reshaping Legislature

   Business-world dynamo Chris Collins a year ago took his oath and took over as Erie County executive, promising to vigorously pursue an efficient, leaner government.

   Collins hasn't lost that commitment. But business dynamos like to get their way. Collins has been frustrated by legislators, a comptroller, a control board and union leaders who frequently loom as obstacles.

   So Collins has learned, like other government leaders, that it's easier to function by changing the landscape. He will try to field a slate of candidates to oppose select legislators in 2009. He wants to find a favorite to run against Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz, too.

   This is standard fare, or at least it's not unusual in local government. Other executives and mayors have tried to place friends, or yes men, into office. But it might surprise some people to learn that Collins will employ the strategy. He ran for office as the un-politician.

   What do you think? Has Collins betrayed a campaign pledge? Or have traditional government forces ganged up on him, so he's doing what he should to do his job better?

   A closing thought: Collins figures the Legislature elections of 2009 will serve as a sort of referendum on his service so far.

   --Matt Spina

   

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