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GRIFFIN, AMOS CLASH OVER VACANT JOBS PROPOSING COUNCIL FILL POSITIONS IS ABSURD,MAYOR SAYS

A proposal that would allow the Common Council to fill city job vacancies after 30 days is absurd and threatens future budget surpluses, Mayor Griffin said Friday. "At a time when Gov. Cuomo is proposing layoffs of state workers and cutbacks in state aid to localities, Council Member (Archie L.) Amos is proposing a measure to require the city to fill all jobs and spend more," Griffin said in a statement. The mayor said the fact that Buffalo ended its 1989-90 budget year with a $10.1 million surplus proves his fiscal policies work. Comptroller Joel A. Giambra has suggested the city use $9 million from the surplus to cover the city schools' deficit. Amos, who represents the University District has introduced a City Charter amendment that would allow the Council to fill vacancies if the mayor fails to act in 30 days. The proposal is to be before the Council Tuesday. If approved, it would go to voters for consideration. The mayor said his 13 consecutive years of surpluses are partly the result of leaving some vacant jobs unfilled. He said the city is providing services using 17 per cent fewer employees than when he took office in 1978. "This reduction in city jobs saves city taxpayers over $25 millon annually and was accomplished without layoffs through a policy of filling only those vacant positions essential to providing needed services," Griffin said. Amos said his proposal is needed because city services have suffered greatly as a result of the mayor not filling jobs. "We end up paying for it one way or the other," he said. "Cheektowaga had a 17 percent tax increase, but when people call and complain about cracked side walks and trees needing trimming, city employees are right there." Amos added his legislation is not intended to fill all city vacancies, just those the Council considers vital. "I'm talking about police, fire, Streets and Sanitation workers and building inspectors," he said. "Not every little typist position that comes along." He said the Police Department provides a good example of how not filling jobs has harmed city services. The current shortages of officers on the street and inpre cinct houses is partly the result of the mayor not filling budgeted positions, Amos said. "This administration has been going on for 14 years saying prop erty taxes have increased only 1 percent," he said. "They're not saying the services have been depleted and ranks have been reduced." Griffin said the city property tax levy has risen 16 percent since he took office. The mayor said his authority to fill vacant positions is off limits to the Council. "In addition to the negative aspect of its cost, the proposal clearly violates the principle of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government," he said.

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