Tag Archives: town government

Excerpt of Clarence Supervisor Scott Bylewski’s State of the Town Address

19 Feb


2300 feet from the sky. 50 lives and one unborn child remembered. 45 minutes during which a close knit community becomes even closer.

From first glance at the red, fire-illuminated sky to declaring a state of emergency, the past week has been one of many emotions — tragedy, grief, and hope.

Tragedy — in the size and scope of the disaster. Grief — in our feelings towards those involved. Hope — in that we will continue as a Town, stronger and better than ever, as we honor those who are no longer with us, but continue on in their memory. To the families and friends of those who perished in Flight 3407, those so deeply affected in and around the Long Street neighborhood, and all who bear their own personal grief, you have the Town of Clarence’s and my most sincere condolences.

I became aware of the tragedy shortly after the crash as I looked out my front door at approximately 10:20 p.m. Within minutes, I was in communication with first responders and our emergency management team. I arrived first at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with Assistant Disaster Coordinator David Baumler literally on my heels. Over 100 people were at the EOC by 10:40 p.m., including the County Executive. By 11:05 p.m., 45 minutes after becoming aware of the incident, I declared a state of emergency. Throughout this event, I remain proud of our reaction and the reaction of those we partnered with as we handled arguably the most traumatic event in Western New York history.

The Town of Clarence and I express our thanks, for their heroic, professional, and overwhelming response, to: all first responders (especially the following fire companies: Akron, Bowmansville, Clarence (CFD #1), Clarence Center (CCVFC), Getzville, Harris Hill, Main Transit, Millgrove, Newstead, North Amherst, Swormville, East Amherst, and Rapids); Erie County Sheriff’s Department; New York State Police; NFTA; FBI; NTSB; FAA; SEMO; all Town employees and Departments; Amherst Fire Control and Emergency Services; and the local, county, state and federal officials and agencies involved.

Thank you to all volunteer efforts and donations that allowed us to do what we needed to do.

Special thanks to Disaster Coordinator David Bissonette, CCVFC Chief David Case, CFD # 1 Chief Chad Hawes, and my assistant Karen Jurek. Also, thanks to David Bissonette’s wife, Traci, and my wife, Rebecca, and all of our families for being supportive and helping. You each performed the work of many people for many days.

The eyes of the world have gazed upon our Town and found it exceptional. Our performance has been unparalleled. Our hearts ache, but are not broken.

We share in the loss of life suffered by Colgan Air and Continental Airlines, and we thank them for helping in our time of need. If I inadvertently omitted anyone due to space limitations, I am sorry. You have extended yourselves to us without hesitation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Our representative Town government, however imperfect, continues to rise to do good for the Town. Last year, we finished our first 200 years as a Town — closing a significant chapter in our book of life. This year, we began a new page — one initially filled with sadness, but one which will blossom with new found strength and hope.

Cheektowaga Does Something Unprecedented

10 Nov

This may be as significant as Kevin Gaughan’s proposal that town boards reduce in size. In Cheektowaga, the town board has instead elected to reduce its pay by 9% in an effort to control costs, lead by example, and to keep tax increases as low as possible. Here is the press release, and frankly it’s something that every elected official in the State of New York – which is facing economic crisis – can take a hint from. Here’s the press release:



The Cheektowaga Town Board will be meeting this Wednesday to look into new ways to reduce the 2009 budget and minimize the proposed increase to the tax rate.

Council Members James Rogowski, Richard Zydel and Stanley Kaznowski have signed onto taking some of the pain themselves – they will propose to roll back the salaries of town board elected officials to 2000 levels, about a 9% decrease in pay. This would apply to the six Council Members and would be in addition to a previously announced proposal to eliminate the Town Supervisor’s stipend of Budget Director.

“We believe that this is a move without precedent anywhere here in Western New York” said Council Member James Rogowski. “Where else do you hear about elected officials actually cutting their own pay? And furthermore, this is not some sort of gimmick. We are sending a strong message that the current cycle of compensation for those working in the public sector has become unaffordable for many of our tax payers.

Along with Rogowski, Council Members Richard Zydel and Stanley Kaznowski have signed on to the proposal. “We are sending a strong budget message to our five labor units and to other employees” said Council Member Richard Zydel. “The salaries and benefits paid out to our employees is unsustainable, given today’s economic realities. We appreciate the valuable service and dedication our policemen, highway Parks, Sewer, and sanitation crew, our office staff and others perform in service to the taxpayers every day. We need to work in partnership with every one of them to find ways to do more with less. That will be the mandate as we move forward.”

Council Member Stan Kaznowski added that the only way the town board can go to the bargaining table and ask for meaningful changes in its labor agreements is by setting an example of leadership. “I can’t look an employee in the face and ask them to take less pay or curtail a fringe benefit if I can’t demonstrate that I am doing the same to my own salary. This is a demonstration of sacrifice that we hope our employees can understand and take seriously. Simply put, our taxpayers are stretched to the limit and can not absorb any more increases.”

The three Council Members has put together an additional package of cuts, including elimination of full time and part time positions in a number of departments, and curtailing of raises for part time employees on the town’s zoning board, planning board and bingo inspectors. With the reduction in their own salaries, this translates into over $273,000 in additional cuts.

“We recognize that this is only a proposal” said Rogowski. “We know that our town board colleagues share in the goal of producing a meaningful budget that blunts any more burden on the taxpayers who are already stretched to the limit in these tough times.”

“Furthermore, we want to send a strong message to our fellow elected officials at all levels of government. To the state legislature – this is no time for your honorable body to be considering pay raises for yourselves. To our peer municipal jurisdictions – perhaps now is the time to take a long hard look at your own pay levels and see if perhaps you can make do with less, and in doing so send a message to your own employees and your own constituencies that you mean business in making meaningful long term reductions to the cost of government and still be able to deliver first class municipal services” Rogowski concluded.