Hey, where will you be today when, around 2pm, the new Erie County Legislature holds its reorganization meeting, whereby Chris Collins attains an ad hoc majority?
Yes, there will be a bloc of nine pliant and compliant legislators who are part of a complicated set of wheeling and dealing that will, among other things, help Chris Collins ram his agenda more easily through the legislature.
The Republican members of the legislature are expected to join a handful of Pigeon-friendly Democrats to elect Grassroots member Barbara Miller-Williams as chairperson of the Legislature. Make no mistake – everyone has received a pro quo for his or her quid. When people voted for Democratic legislators in their various districts, I wonder if they knew they were voting for someone who would cut deals with Chris Collins and help advance his agenda?
For the record, the blocs shape up thusly:
Nine for Collins: Kennedy, Bove, Walter, Fudoli, Dixon, Mills, Rath, Hardwick, Miller-Williams
Six Democrats: Grant, Kozub, Whyte, Mazur, Marinelli, Loughran
The Erie County Legislature was never a place where good government was king. Now, “good government” has been relegated to obscure serfdom, supplanted by short-term personal power, privilege, and convenience. The Republicans have teamed up with the Pigeonistas to stick a shiv in the back of checks & balances.
Good luck with all of that.
UPDATE: Barbara Miller-Williams was elected chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature this afternoon. John Mills remains minority leader, and Maria Whyte remains majority leader. I’ll have much more on this later, but the divide in the legislature is deeper than I’ve ever seen it before. I don’t know if this is good or not but make no mistake – the Democrats are in the minority right now. This is akin to a coup orchestrated by Collins, Pigeon, and a group of, as Betty Jean Grant called them, “renegade Democrats”.
To add to the coup-y flavor, a coterie of armed Sheriff’s Deputies were on hand to “escort” fired staffers out of the building.
And that so-called “reform coalition”? One of the first things it did was propose the creation of two new patronage jobs – Chief of Staff for the minority and majority caucuses. That is not reform. That is not good government.
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