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Frequent government critic is running for West Seneca Town Board

The man who sued former Gov. George Pataki, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, the West Seneca Town Board and town officials could find out how it feels to be in their shoes: He's running for Town Board.

"I’ve done as much as I could from the outside, trying to prod and poke and trying to get them to go in the right direction," Daniel T. Warren said.

He thinks he will have better luck on the inside, where his goals may not change, but his tactics will. Instead of filing a petition or a lawsuit, he would file a resolution.

"I have certain ideas I think the town has to work for," he said.

A case in point for him: filing and releasing financial disclosure forms. Since West Seneca's population is under 50,000, certain elected officials do not have to file the disclosure.

"To me, it’s a no-brainer, just pass a local law that we’re going to voluntarily comply with this," Warren said.

Warren has been a vocal government watchdog for years, demanding public officials follow the law, and petitioning or filing a lawsuit when they don't.

Most recently, he led the successful effort to increase the size of the West Seneca Town Board from three to five by adding two members. That was after a similar petition effort in 2012 failed, following the 2009 downsizing. Warren and others also filed petitions forcing a public vote in West Seneca on borrowing money last year for the library and community center, which forced the Town Board to rescind the borrowing and finance the project in a different manner.

Warren also cited a violation of the state's Open Meetings Law in the passage of the Erie County budget following Giambra's red and green budget proposals in 2004, and in 2011 he sought the removal of then-Supervisor Wallace Piotrowski and Comptroller Robert J. Bielecki for alleged "maladministration and misconduct" in failing to stop AmeriCorps from misusing town credit cards.

He also filed a lawsuit against New York for leaving a civil service position provisionally filled longer than nine months, and he has charged the Erie County Citizens Budget Review Commission violated the Open Meetings Law.

A graduate of South Park High School, Warren, 52, is an information technology specialist for the state Insurance Fund. A union steward, he is assistant council leader for Division 240 of the Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO.

He lays out his biography and seven-point platform on his website, Warren said he has no problem announcing his candidacy nearly 11 months before the election.

"I figured why not now, get my message out there," Warren said.

Four members of the Town Board will be elected in November: three councilmen and a supervisor. Warren is not the only early candidate; James Lawson announced last year he will run for supervisor.

Warren is not intimidated by the enrollment challenge for Republicans in West Seneca, where Democrats outnumber the GOP by nearly two-to-one.

"I think if you're a good candidate, regardless of the line you’re running on, you will be elected," he said.

He hopes to win the Republican nomination from the town's GOP Committee in the spring. He plans on collecting signatures for his election petitions even if he does not win the nomination.

Warren, who has circulated many petitions but has never run for public office, already knows the date to start collecting designating petitions: June 4.

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