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Letter: County Water should take a page from the city’s book

Perhaps Erie County should consider an alternative form of management in lieu of naming a new executive director for the Erie County Water Authority.

The City of Buffalo was faced with some issues and back in 1997 entered into a contract with American Water, Inc. and then in 2010 switched to Veolia North America. While the city continues to own the system, the private firms took over the management of it including city employees, treatment, pumping, distribution, metering, billing and collection as well as customer service.

Although I’m not privy to the details of the contracts, it is said to have resulted in numerous improvements to the system as well as reducing the Buffalo Water Board’s budget by several million dollars per year!

As Erie County faces increased pressure to replace political patronage hires and appointments and respond to the authority’s alleged poor governance and lack of transparency, perhaps the time is right to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to have a professional management firm take over?

No harm or obligation in seeing what offers might be presented as this management system has apparently served Buffalo in a satisfactory manner for over 20 years.

Peter P. Schifferli


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