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Interim comptroller appointment irks local Dems

   It may rank in the "ultimate inside baseball" category, but Politics Now is for people who care about such things as the inner workings of the Erie County Democratic Committee.

   So it's interesting to note that the selection process to replace Mark C. Poloncarz as county comptroller continues to rankle some Democrats. Gregory B. Olma, chairman of Zone 9 and a member of the Executive Committee, remains irked that Chairman Len Lenihan has relied totally on a special search committee to find a new comptroller. Olma says the party's central governing body, absent a meeting of the entire 2,000-member-plus committee, is the Executive Committee.

   "It should have had some role," Olma said Friday, "especially since this is supposed to be the pick of the party. It's a shame."

   The party, after interviews conducted by a special panel headed by retired accountant John F. Malloy, has recommended Boston Town Clerk David Shenk for the post. He must run in a special election in November, and for a full, four-year term in 2013.

   But Betty Jean Grant, chairwoman of the County Legislature, which will pick a Democrat to fill the post, has said she will not be bound by the party recommendation. She said the Legislature will also interview three other candidates: Richard C. Pawarski, former deputy Buffalo comptroller; George F. Hasiotis, a businessman and former Erie County Water Authority commissioner; and Daniel J. Ward, former Amherst supervisor and 2003 candidate for county executive.

   Hasiotis, meanwhile, says he will remain in the picture. He said he will soon announce his candidacy and begin raising money even if he fails to win the interim appointment. He is making more and more noise about mounting a primary challenge for the county comptroller post.

--Robert J. McCarthy

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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