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Legislature confirms new head of Erie County social services

The Erie County Legislature voted 9-2 on Thursday to confirm Marie Cannon as commissioner of the Department of Social Services. Cannon had been acting commissioner since Al Dirschberger resigned from the post under pressure in late December after he was indicted on rape charges.

Cannon served as first deputy commissioner of the department since 2014.

She will lead the county's largest department, which employs roughly 1,600 employees and spends $600 million a year. She will earn a salary of $136,596.

Minority Leader Joseph Lorigo, C-West Seneca, and Edward Rath III, R-Amherst, voted against Cannon's appointment. Lorigo said he wanted a special investigator to complete an investigation into whether county employees knew of any improper behavior by Dirschberger before Cannon's appointment became official.

In a statement issued Thursday evening, Lorigo stated: "While Ms. Cannon has proven to be a qualified candidate, I maintain it is irresponsible to appoint the position permanently while there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the Social Services Department. Ms. Cannon served as first deputy commissioner under the previous commissioner during his alleged criminal actions, and will undoubtedly be included in the independent investigation. I do not support this appointment until all questions are answered."

County legislators agree to hire Dirschberger investigator

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