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GOP LEGISLATORS SEEK TO CANCEL COUNTY PACT

Republican legislators called today for examining a $2 million county contract awarded without bid and are seeking its cancellation.

But County Attorney Kenneth A. Schoetz said there was nothing wrong with the contract, or the manner in which it was awarded.

The Republicans maintain that the Gorski administration "duped" the County Legislature into accepting a five-year contract for 180 Xerox copy machines by saying that the contract met the requirements of state law on governmental purchasing.

Protests by a competitor, Pitney Bowes Inc., later disclosed that the county Department of Information Services did not seek competitive bids.

"The county executive has violated not only the spirit of the law but the letter," said Minority Leader Frederick J. Marshall of East Aurora. "A $2 million no-bid contract is not in the best interests of our taxpayers."

But Schoetz said the pact with Xerox was a lease, not a purchase.

"We followed normal procedures under the law," he said.

Marshall cited two other instances of the Democratic administration seeking Legislature approvals on the basis of information that Marshall called misleading:

The Public Works Department last week asked for an immediate vote on a $100,000 increase in a county contract for Rich Stadium work.

Department officials disclosed that the work was already done and there was no reason for not processing the change order through the Legislature's usual committee review.

The Purchasing Department last year ordered Sheriff's Department cars delivered three months before approval was sought in the Legislature.

Asked if he intended to take his protest to the district attorney, Marshall said the administration had violated the law but the offense is not criminal.

"It's a violation of Erie County Charter, Erie County Code and state law," he said.

Schoetz disagreed.

Marshall said the Legislature's minority is seeking a review by County Comptroller Nancy A. Naples, nullification of the contract and rebidding.

"The county attorney would have to write a letter to say that the contract was not awarded according to the law and would have to be rebid," said Marshall.

Marshall was joined by Legislators Michael H. Ranzenhofer, East Amherst; Robert M. Villarini, Hamburg; John W. Greenan, West Seneca; Brian D. Rusk, Amherst; and Dale W. Larson, Lancaster.

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