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>Public hearing today on services contracts

The Erie County Legislature will hold a public hearing today on a proposal to let lawmakers reject personal-services contracts used to hire workers off the regular payroll.

The proposal had been panned at a public hearing two weeks ago when critics inside and outside the government called it needlessly broad and imparting the Legislature with too much power.

Its main sponsor, Legislator Michele Iannello, D-Kenmore, said it has been tailored to focus specifically on professional services contracts, of which Erie County signs about 1,900 a year. She said she wants the Legislature to be able to delete any contracts drawn for purely political reasons, and wants lawmakers told of any contract within five days of its signing.

The hearing is at 9:30 a.m. on the fourth floor of Old County Hall. The law, if approved Thursday, would need voter approval in the November election.


>Ramps to Exit 56 will reopen Saturday

The eastbound Thruway entry and exit ramps at the Route 179 interchange in Blasdell reopen to traffic Saturday, it was announced Tuesday. Officials said the second and final stage of the reconstruction of Interchange 56 is ahead of schedule and nearing completion.

The original completion date for the project, which began in February, was scheduled for the beginning of June 2008. Thruway officials now expect that the entire project will be completed by the end of this year.

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