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Legislators reject Giambra retreat

Joel A. Giambra invited the County Legislature to a free, two-day retreat at a Wyoming County conference center in March to discuss Erie County's future. But lawmakers won't be going.

Republicans weren't thrilled with the idea, and the 12 Democrats Tuesday decided they would rather not attend.

"He had great intentions," said Legislator George A. Holt Jr., D-Buffalo. "What it lacked was a consensus on the dates, the times and the agenda."

Hotelier Paul Snyder offered Erie County officials free use of his Beaver Hollow Conference Center, and Giambra said he would pay for meals out of his campaign accounts. Participants would have had to pay $35 if they didn't want to share a room.

Giambra invited lawmakers and members of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority to two days of discussions March 23-24.

But control board members, including Sheila K. Kee and Anthony Baynes, raised questions about whether overseers should accept the invitation. Lawmakers also wondered if the same discussion could occur closer to home.

Democrat Cynthia Locklear of West Seneca says it will make better sense to arrange a one-day session using facilities at Erie Community College or a library.

"An eight-hour day. Do the work. And go home," she said.

In a written statement late Tuesday, Giambra said he was disappointed.

"Our intent was an honest effort to provide a venue for productive discussion and communication regarding the implementation of the four-year plan," he said. "We will work with the Legislature in any fashion they deem appropriate."


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