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ETHICS BOARD CRACKS DOWN ON DISCLOSURE FORMS

The Buffalo Board of Ethics wants money or resignations from three volunteer members of other city boards who failed to file financial disclosure forms on time and then didn't pay fines for doing so.

And that's just great with one of the unpaid volunteers.

Clarence Lott said he will not pay his $100 fine because he doesn't want to serve on the Public Collection Board, which meets during the day, when he is supposed to be at work.

"The only way I can get out of that thing is not to pay the fine," Lott said, adding that he attended only one meeting during his tenure.

The other board members who have not yet paid the fine are:

Calvin Brown, Wade Avenue, a member of the Public Collection Board; fined $100.

Thomas Granville of East Amherst, an owner of Gallagher Elevator Co. and a member of the Elevator Safety Review Board; fined $500 as a second-time late filer.

Lott, of 21 Carl St., director of equal employment opportunity of the Erie County Water Authority.

All eventually filed the forms late, as did John T. Price of Chapin Parkway, a member of the Board of Heating Examiners, who paid his $100 fine. The forms were due Jan. 31.

Douglas S. Coppola, chairman of the Ethics Board, said some action needed to be taken. Hundreds of others serving on the city's more than 30 boards always meet the deadlines, Coppola said.

"We spend a disproportionate amount of our time tracking and writing to nonfilers," Coppola said Tuesday after a board meeting. "We are appreciative of the people who do serve and file. This is not a draconian requirement. The form takes about 18 minutes."

The disclosure form asks board members -- and city employees -- where they live and work and interests they or close relatives have in city contracts or agencies. It also asks their political affiliation, ownership of city properties and gifts received from agencies regulated by or doing business with the city.

Employees are required to disclose past employment, promised jobs, and loans and debts. Failing to file could result in fines up to $10,000 and could cost them their positions.

The board will ask Mayor Anthony M. Masiello to request their resignations of the three if they do not pay by Friday.

The fines were levied after repeated notifications and the convening of hearings that cost $850, not counting city attorney and stenographer time, Coppola said. Brown was the only one who showed up at a hearing.

Coppola said all Ethics Board members are volunteers and file the disclosures, as do city officials and employees whose appointments are controlled by elected officials.

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