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GABRYSZAK SAYS LOGS SHOW HE WORKS 50 HOURS PLUS

Last week, it was records showing that out of 15 golf dates at the Lancaster Country Club this year, only one was on a weekday.

This week, Cheektowaga Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak pulled out a log book he said shows that his work weeks this year have averaged 53 hours, with a few topping 60.

Gabryszak is determined to trash charges by his political opponents that he doesn't spend enough time at the job of being supervisor of Cheektowaga, the county's second largest town.

An increasingly bitter Democratic primary campaign between Gabryszak and Cheektowaga Council Member William P. Rogowski has been spiced by claims from Rogowski's camp that the incumbent is difficult to reach, doesn't return phone calls and supposedly spends relatively little time in his Town Hall office.

"That's bull," Gabryszak said in his office Tuesday morning.

He said he began keeping a personal log of the time he spends on town business at the beginning of last year, the midpoint in his current four-year term. By the end of this week, he said he will have amassed about 1,850 hours this year, which averages out to about 53 hours a week.

At this point last year, Gabryszak's log totaled 1,687 hours, or 48.2 hours a week. For all of 1998, Gabryszak said he worked 2,498 hours, a 48-hour-per-week average. And, he said, the hours don't include the time spent on the phone evenings with residents and town officials.

Gabryszak, 47, said he couldn't do his job well if he spent all day behind his desk at Town Hall. He said being supervisor means "getting out in the community," talking with people and meeting with civic and business leaders regularly. And he said he keeps in touch with his secretary for messages.

With the Sept. 14 primary against Rogowski approaching, Gabryszak also went on the offensive Tuesday, blasting Rogowski's claim that Cheektowaga's new bond rating -- the highest for any municipality in Western New York -- stems from town residents being "overtaxed."

"The town's bond rating is not a product of fiscal prudence; it is because Cheektowaga's taxpayers are overtaxed," the challenger declared in a campaign flyer.

Replied Gabryszak: "It is obvious that (Rogowski) has paid little or no attention to the fiscal (factors) leading up to a bond rating. (He) either did not care enough to read or understand the rationale behind the Moody's rating, or was incapable of understanding the intricacies of town finance," Gabryszak declared in a prepared statement.

"In either event, it reflects a lack of understanding of the basics necessary to lead a town as supervisor (and) budget director," Gabryszak asserted.

Socioeconomic, administrative, financial and debt factors enter into the compilation of a municipality's bond rating. "There is no mention by Moody's of taxation or tax burden in the factors considered, except for concentration of tax base," he said.

Gabryszak noted that Rogowski last fall voted against the budget that cut town taxes "for the first time in 11 years. How can he now charge that overburdening of the taxpayers leads to a (good) bond rating when, in fact, my administration has cut taxes?" Gabryszak asked.

"The tax cut he's claiming for his own was, in fact, achieved by the council members," Rogowski responded Wednesday. "The budget he gave us Sept. 30 held the line on taxes; it was the board that reduced it by about 1 1/2 percent, and I voted against that because I felt we could have achieved another 4 percent cut."

Bond ratings also reflect "the tax base and the surplus," the challenger argued. "My point is we've got a tremendous surplus and those are taxpayer dollars that we should be giving back as a tax decrease, not holding to increase our bond rating," Rogowski said.

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