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What's in a letter? More than what's said at the Erie County Legislature

The Erie County Legislature files away plenty of documents, letters and correspondence under the heading "receive and file" during its course of business.

Occasionally, a letter that quietly slips into the public record reveals a whole lot more than what is said at the public dais.

One of those missives was filed away last week during a Legislature Finance and Management Committee meeting. The four-page letter, sent from County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz to Legislator Joseph C. Lorigo in April, provides a glimpse into the evolving relationship between the Democratic county executive and members of the Legislature's minority coalition.

The four-page missive accuses Lorigo, a Conservative, of using an opinion piece that appeared in the West Seneca Bee as a "cheap attempt to score political points with false data."

Lorigo's column, which was published in the Bee on April 19, suggested that aspects of the four-year financial plan prepared by Poloncarz should "be altered and explained in greater detail." The full column can be read on the Legislature's website here.

Poloncarz's letter, which was submitted to the full Legislature and copied to the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, takes on Lorigo's assertions with headers such as "Collins-Era Misrepresentations" and "Misstatements about the 2012-2015 Four Year Financial Plan." Read the letter here.

Lorigo, who said he met with Poloncarz to discuss the issue shortly after receiving the letter, said he thought his original column was "innocuous" and that the county executive had blown it out of proportion with his written response.

"I think what he was trying to do was embarrass me," Lorigo said shortly after the two met. "I'm not embarrassed. I'm doing my job, and my job is not to simply be a 'yes man' for the county executive."

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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