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POLITICIZING OF WATER AUTHORITY APPOINTMENT DRAWS CONDEMNATION

Deputy Mayor Thomas Morrow has been Orchard Park's trustee in charge of water for the last 12 years, so he felt that he had to speak out about the Erie County Water Authority during Monday night's Village Board meeting.

Tucked between reports of "plowin', saltin' and sandin' " from the Public Works Department and the appointment of new elections inspectors, Morrow took aim at reports that Erie County Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon will be appointed to head the Water Authority.

The position will be open once the term of West Seneca businessman and political consultant George F. Hasiotis expires in April.

The Democratic-controlled Erie County Legislature makes the appointment, and the only county legislator to publicly oppose the move found himself removed last week as chairman of the legislative committee handling the appointment.

"I'm a Republican, but I don't take this as a party thing," Morrow said. "I just feel that position should not be political, and I don't care what party it is. It should be for the benefit of the people of the community."

The authority had been a prime site for patronage, but the political content has been watered down in recent years, and the overall payroll has been reduced.

"Management of the Water Authority has just been much more efficient. They've cut down on the number of employees, they've cut their borrowing, and, in my opinion, they've been doing a much better job," Morrow said. "Now, things are changing in the opposite direction."

Trustee John B. Wilson concurred, saying, "It can be effectively run if it's more businesslike and the politics stays out."

Morrow presided over the remarkably brief 10-minute meeting in place of Mayor Patricia Dickman, who was unable to attend for medical reasons.

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