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Staff levels for county executive's office seen as 'moot' as Collins prepares to exit

Erie County Executive Chris Collins won't be in office in January, but the Legislature still set aside 45 minutes for his office to talk about the 2012 budget for the county executive's administrative staff this morning.

Nobody showed up, and Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams said she received no word from his staff that they weren't coming.

"We're disappointed of course," Miller-Williams said. "We're here ready to take care of the people's business. I think it's disrespectful, and I feel that we're all still in office until the end of they year. It's our responsibility to review the budget."

Miller-Williams, who also lost a re-election bid for her seat last week, placed a call to the main line of the county executive's suite when it became apparent no one was coming. She got voice mail.

Grant Loomis, a spokesman for Collins, said it is the budget department that has handled the presentation for the county executive in the past. Budget Director Gregory Gach met with legislators on Monday and has had staff present for many of the presentations this week.

"The budget department has historically handled this presentation, which is simply related to personnel lines in the county executive's office," Loomis said of the 45-minute time slot scheduled this morning. "All discussion of the county executive's office budget is moot given last week's election."

The Legislature's Finance, Management and Budget Committee has meetings scheduled throughout the week to meet with department heads to review Collins' proposal for 2012. The Legislature will hold a public hearing on the budget at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, in Old County Hall. 

The slot reserved for the county executive's office was the first no-show of the week.

County Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz, who will replace Collins as county executive in January after winning the election last week, is scheduled to appear before the Legislature on Friday to talk about his views on the budget.

--Denise Jewell Gee

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Erie County | Erie County executive | Erie County Legislature
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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

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