A longtime Democratic Party operator is in need of a job. So the Democratic-controlled Erie County Legislature might create one today.
Lawmakers will consider refiguring their personnel budget to create a $56,884-a-year post for a "senior administrative assistant" to work on "intergovernmental relations."
Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli, D-Town of Tonawanda, acknowledged the job is likely to go to Lawrence F. Adamczyk, a former Democratic elections commissioner who most recently worked for Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, D-Cheektowaga.
When Tokasz announced his retirement last year, Adamczyk went on a job hunt. For a time, he was considered for the post of County Legislature clerk, which would have paid him about $75,000 a year.
But since elections commissioners can make both friends and enemies, Adamczyk was not an easy sell to the Legislature's Democratic caucus. And since the clerk's job is one of the county's better patronage plums, other lawmakers put forward their candidates.
In the end, Marinelli last year could not gather the votes needed to hire Adamczyk as clerk. The Legislature elevated a current staff member, Robert Graber, to the position.
Now, Marinelli says she would like to promote the Legislature's relations with other governments by hiring someone to help in that regard, especially since so many legislative concerns involve other governments, particularly the state.
"Collaboration, that's the name of the game here," Marinelli said. "You have to work collaboratively to get things done." There's a pressing need for the position, she said.
She and Adamczyk both worked for former County Executive Dennis T. Gorski at different points in their careers. She headed the commission on the status of women. Adamczyk was a campaign strategist and Gorski's director of information and support services before becoming an elections commissioner.
Marinelli's resolution, if approved, would trigger the filling of two positions already in the budget, a full-time budget analyst and a part-time lawyer for the Democrats, who control the Legislature, 12-3. While the three-member Republican minority has a part-time lawyer, the Democrats do not.
Marinelli said she can hire the intergovernmental relations staffer and still stay within the Legislature's current budget by controlling costs and keeping some positions vacant.
As chairwoman, Marinelli ordinarily has sole authority to hire and fire the Legislature's staff. This year, she must request permission from the state-appointed control board in order to hire. The Fiscal Stability Authority has imposed a hiring freeze, which it lifts on a case-by-case basis.