Stung by Cheektowaga Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak's charge that "he hasn't done a damn thing" in public office, the challenger in the race for town supervisor Friday claimed 30 accomplishments as a town council member since 1980.
"The guy's obviously looking in the mirror when he talks about not doing anything," Council Member William P. Rogowski fumed.
And Rogowski had a look-who's-talking response to Gabryszak's charge that Rogowski's paychecks as both a town official and public school teacher constitute "double dipping" at the taxpayer trough.
While a town council member a few years ago, Gabryszak also took home a county paycheck as deputy clerk in the Auto Bureau, Rogowski recalled.
"I studied seven years to obtain my teaching degrees, his job with the county was a political appointment -- and he accuses me of double dipping?" Rogowski asked in mock amazement.
Gabryszak and Rogowski will meet in the town's Sept. 14 Democratic primary and again in the November election because Rogowski, a lifelong Democrat, also is the Republican candidate.
Rogowski said in an interview he's worried that Gabryszak's quote about him -- "he hasn't done a damn thing" -- is the kind of campaign rhetoric that sticks in voters minds, true or not.
To counter it, the challenger issued a list of accomplishments covering two pages and dealing with a variety of subjects, including:
Fighting a payroll tax on suburban residents working in Buffalo, a project to alleviate flooding in Sloan, recycling, federal revenue sharing, work with charitable organizations, the town's phone system, handicapped accessibility to town buildings, alcohol bans in parks to curb vandalism, a physical fitness course for senior citizens, Little League and other community activities, new softball diamonds and football fields, attracting industries and jobs, veterans affairs, traffic improvements and youth and recreation services.
On other fronts, Rogowski said that Town Hall employees "are laughing" about Gabryszak's claim this week that he averages a 53-hour work week.
Told that Gabryszak has a book in which he claims to log his hours, Rogowski responded: "Was the ink dry?" "Talk to the people who work in the building. They're getting a real charge out of that one," Rogowski said.
He also waved off allegations that, if he should win, Frank C. Max -- not Bill Rogowski -- will actually call the shots in Cheektowaga government.
Max heads Progressive Democrats, a powerful splinter organization that claims more than 500 active members.
Will he let Max, a formidable personality, control him, Rogowski was asked.
"Nobody's been able to do that, not even my wife. Well, maybe she has . . . a little," Rogowski chuckled.