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Erie County lawmakers will question the county executive's choice for health commissioner prior to his automatic confirmation.

Col. Arnold Lubin, M.D., will travel to Buffalo next Friday to give legislators a chance to ask him questions about his views on public health.

But due to a procedural anomaly, even if the legislators find they do not want to hire Lubin, he will nonetheless be confirmed automatically Jan. 3.

Legislators plan to reschedule their Jan. 3 general legislative session to Jan. 10 to accommodate a number of members who plan to be out of state through the first week of 1991. If no vote on Lubin is taken by midnight Jan. 3, by County Charter he would be automatically confirmed. The charter states that if a nominee is not voted on within one month of his nomination, the person is automatically hired.

Health Committee Chairman David M. Manz, D-Buffalo, said the situation is not ideal but appears unavoidable.

Most lawmakers did not have an opportunity to meet Lubin earlier this month when he was here for the announcement of his nomination because they were embroiled in 1991 budget negotiations.

Lubin, who is planning to retire from the U.S. Air Force at the end of January, had not been expected to be able to travel from his Texas home to Buffalo prior to the Legislature's confirmation deadline.

Manz last week criticized the administration for nominating Lubin to the health post on Dec. 4, knowing lawmakers wouldn't have an opportunity to question him prior to the Jan. 3 confirmation deadline.

Manz, who had asked County Executive Gorski to withdraw Lubin's nomination until he could face lawmakers' questioning, said he's now satisfied.

"I'm pleased we'll have a chance to pick his brain about how he plans to run the county Health Department," Manz said.

"I don't care how qualified he might be, I can't vote to confirm him when I don't know what he has in mind for county residents," he added.

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