Vacant ECWA position opens door for GOP

May 29, 2018

Change at the Erie County Water Authority is continuing, as Republicans now have to fill their remaining seat on the three-member board. County Legislature Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo says he wants that seat filled quickly.

The authority board had turned over when Democrats took control of the Legislature and Mark Carney was appointed. Then, Republican Karl Simmeth unexpectedly resigned, as he retired from public service, and the board was down to two members.

While the seats are appointments of the entire Legislature, no more than two can be of the same party, giving the GOP the appointment power this time around. Lorigo says he will discuss what to do with Legislature Chairman Peter Savage.

"Things have been a little bit busy with other items before the Legislature, but, yeah, I will have a conversation with Peter and see about getting interviews scheduled as soon as we possibly can," Lorigo says. "Then, maybe, start to finally change the culture that has existed there so long. I plan to get that moving and we'll see where it goes."

The minority leader says he wants the appointment to the authority to be an open process.

"We'll advertise the way we would for any position that's available and let people who are qualified apply and do the interview process the way it should be done," he says. "It's a very large job. There are a lot of people in Erie County that rely on the water authority to get clean drinking water and so it's something that we take very seriously and that's the way I intend to go about the process."

With many changes underway in the authority, Lorigo says he's looking for someone with significant management experience and experience in dealing with the public sector.

"People that have managerial experience, might have municipal experience, engineering experience would obviously be helpful," he says. "People that want to run the authority in a better, more efficient way."