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Rutland Heaps Criticism on County Government

Bill Rutland

Niagara County Legislators have spent 3 or 4 months wrangling over bids for the new VOIP phone system. All the while they argue with bidders, consultants, department heads, and political opponents about the switches, routers etc... The most alarming development is not the potential lawsuits from bid-rigging, it is the fact that if you are in need of County Services and you call, they will answer the phone. Throughout all this grandstanding about network connectivity, back-up power systems, Cisco vs. Lucent, County Workers will answer your call and direct you where you desire.

This project is just another waste of your tax dollars to bring in campaign contributions to the GOP coffers. This project is no different than Greenway projects, County self insurance, Record Storage, Outside Attorney use, and many other schemes concocted in illegal caucus meetings for years. Projects aligned with appreciative campaign donors have dominated this Legislature for years. Why else would the GOP Majority continue to lie about the need of County Taxpayers?

The recent discussion to bid voting machine storage is an excellent example. Current storage landlord David Ulrich , one of the most appreciative donors, is upset that Niagara County won't sign a long term lease. The County releases the statement that we need voting machine storage ever since we had to move the voting machines from the dilapidated storage building on Davison Road. That is a lie! Voting Machines have never been stored on Davison Road ever! And the buildings that have housed County Records are not dilapidated.

Maybe the machines were stored at the Alliance Church on Davison, because that is where the machines were always stored, at polling places around the county. They have created a need for taxpayer funded project through a lack of a competitive bid to one of the largest donors to both the County GOP and Senator Maziarz. A perfect storm for them.

I urge taxpayers to start asking questions of your Legislators when you read about any new projects they are proposing. This phone system, for which they have approved 3 million in bonding will be installed in some buildings we do not even own! They will be installed in the facilities we lease in Lockport that Dave Ulrich turned into a $9 million dollar real estate deal for him. Those leases are coming due soon, while the GOP Caucus wants to get rid of County property that used to house a lot of those offices. Legislator John Syracuse cries about the need for a smaller footprint of County Government, but how have we saved any money by closing the Switzer Building and paying $800,000 a year in rent?

One function of County Government is maintaining County Roads. That footprint is not shrinking. Legislator Syracuse is trying to further reduce the workforce that does those repairs! Is this something taxpayer want less of? Safe roads? How do you think our county roads got into the poor condition they are now. By reducing funding for maintenance of roads, while you are increasing funding for questionable projects like: Record/Voting Machine Storage, Hi tech phone systems for basic county services, Long term private property leases that create windfall profits for appreciative developers.

Bill Rutland

President AFSCME Local 182

Niagara County Blue Collar



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Mar 25, 2014