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Buffalo in the '80s: Erie County’s coupon-clipping Comptroller Alfreda Slominski

As Erie County’s Comptroller and “fiscal watchdog” — a nickname she cherished — Alfreda Slominski watched county finances with the same thrift she observed with her personal budget. She was ready to swing the hatchet when necessary, whether that meant trimming fat from a budget or clipping coupons from The Sunday News.


Buffalo News archives

Even her political campaigns were run with frugality in mind. In 1969, Buffalo City Councilman (there were no "Council Members" then) Alfreda Slominski waged a campaign to dethrone Frank A. Sedita as Buffalo’s mayor. She didn’t win the race, but she did win the hearts of many with her no-nonsense style.

When she ran for County Comptroller five years later, she used the same lawn signs, pasting the word COMPTROLLER over MAYOR herself on many of them.


Slominski with County Executive Ed Rutkowski, 1979. (Buffalo News archives)

Called by News reporter Ray Hill “the most colorful Buffalo politician since the late Frank A. Sedita,” Erie County Comptroller Alfreda Slominski took pride in doing her job well and keeping a tight fiscal ship. In her first four years in office, she fired 19 deputies.

Slominski was known as tough, courageous and willing to do what she thought it took during her 18 years as county comptroller, as well as her time on the Buffalo School Board and Buffalo Common Council. She also came through it all as someone who did things for what she believed to be the right reasons — even if those things weren’t the most popular.

Alfreda swings hatchet often but reluctantly in drive for excellence

“When he was mayor, Frank Sedita liked lots and lots of employees around him. Mrs. Slominski, in the kind of candid interview of which she is so capable, says she would like to 'purge' some people from her department.”


1969 ad in The Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo Stories archives)

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