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Marinelli fails to secure Adamczyk a job County legislators not interested in supporting Democratic operative

No job was created Thursday for Laurence F. Adamczyk.

A majority of Erie County legislators did not care to give an almost $57,000-a-year job to the Democratic Party operative in search of his next government post. Legislature Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli ended up sending the proposal to a committee.

Privately in recent days, Marinelli had suggested hiring Adamczyk as an "intergovernmental relations" assistant.

That would have added to an Adamczyk resume that includes a stint as a department head during County Executive Dennis T. Gorski's reign, then service as an elections commissioner, then time as an aide to Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz of Cheektowaga.

When Tokasz announced his retirement last year, Adamczyk was mentioned as a potential County Legislature clerk, one of the Legislature's better paying jobs but one of its rare positions that the chairwoman cannot fill by fiat. Marinelli needed a majority of lawmakers to go along.

Elections commissioners, however, make both friends and enemies, and political divides can run deep. Marinelli could not find a total of eight lawmakers willing to hire Adamczyk. So the Legislature late in 2006 instead elevated a current staff member, Robert Graber, into the job of clerk.

Marinelli, unlike some other lawmakers, has been on good terms with Adamczyk. This week, she tried to hire him again, to promote relations with other governments since, she reasoned, other governments affect so many county concerns.

Some of her fellow Democratic lawmakers were OK with the move.

"I have no problem with the guy," said Daniel J. Kozub of Lackawanna, adding that Adamczyk possesses a wealth of knowledge about government operations.

Thomas J. Mazur of Cheektowaga did not object either, as long as the Legislature remained within its budget, which Marinelli had vowed to do.

But the plan was not to simply hire Adamczyk into Graber's old job.

Given Adamczyk's newcomer status, it would not have paid enough.

Marinelli proposed a new job for him at a higher grade, to add roughly $15,000 to the starting pay. Since some other jobs were vacant, the budget would be safe.

But in trying to create the new job, the chairwoman ran into problems.

"I told the chairwoman directly that I strongly disagree," said Majority Leader Maria R. Whyte, D-Buffalo.

Had Marinelli hired Adamczyk into an existing job, there would have been nothing Whyte could do. But Whyte said she would not vote to give Adamczyk such special treatment. She later learned that at least six of the other Democrats opposed the idea as well.

Early Thursday, Marinelli indicated she would not bring her proposal up for a vote. She sent it to a new committee created this year, the Personnel Committee, headed by Kathy Konst, a Lancaster Democrat. Konst said she also would not have voted for the resolution.

Republicans, who are outnumbered in the Legislature, 12-3, took advantage of the Democrats' flap with a late-day statement: "Creating jobs for party loyalists is not the way to move Erie County forward or to answer the public's overwhelming call for reform," said Minority Leader John J. Mills of Orchard Park.

e-mail: mspina@buffnews.com

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