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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Elections office announces absentee voting hours

The Erie County Board of Elections Office at 134 W. Eagle St. in Buffalo will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for absentee voting each working day until Nov. 3 and for these extended hours:

It will be open until 8 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday and Nov. 3, the last day before the general election.

It will be open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1.

The last day to apply in person for an absentee ballot is Nov. 3. For questions, call 858-7819.

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>Gaughan urges Town Board to accept resizing referendum

Kevin P. Gaughan, the Buffalo lawyer challenging local governments to reduce their numbers of elected officials, is urging the West Seneca Town Board to do the right thing when members meet tonight by acquiescing to a public referendum this November.

Gaughan recently won his second court decision allowing citizens to decide whether to reduce the Town Board from five members to three.

"Your choice this Monday night is simple," Gaughan wrote in a letter to the board Friday, "You can comply with the law, choose a date for the vote and select the proposition language you want to appear on the ballot. Or you can defy the court, ignore the will of the people, and send your attorneys to Rochester to argue for a third time what you have already lost in court twice. And in the process, force West Seneca taxpayers to pay tens of thousands of dollars more."

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>Working Families Party backs Sedita for DA

Frank A. Sedita III has picked up a fourth party endorsement for his bid to become the next Erie County district attorney. The Western New York chapter of the Working Families Party is backing his candidacy last week even though another candidate will be on the party's line next month.

Chapter Chairman James A. Duncan Jr. said last week the party is urging its members to vote for Sedita because its endorsed candidate, Kenneth F. Case, has pledged his support for Sedita.

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>School workers' contract for seven years approved

Both sides are aboard on a seven-year contract for 100 Lackawanna City School District employees represented by the Civil Service Employees Association.

The union, which represents maintenance, custodial, cafeteria and buildings and grounds employees, overwhelmingly ratified the contract earlier in the month, and the district's School Board did likewise last week.

Jim Loga, the union's chief negotiator, said the agreement kicks in immediately and runs through June 30, 2012. The contract, which provides longevity increases and a pay hike of about 10.5 percent over the term, is retroactive to July 1, 2005, when the last contract expired. The contract also restricts employees to one health insurance carrier.

The pact also includes improved dental coverage and an extended salary schedule for newly hired employees, who will make a greater financial contribution for their health insurance.

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