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Sandra Tan

Cityside reporter primarily covering Erie County government. Previously covered Buffalo Public Schools and other community and issue-oriented beats.


Erie County

The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a hike in pay Thursday for social services caseworkers, including a compromise agreement to raise wages for a wide swath of Child Protective Services caseworkers and supervisors to address concerns about staffing instability and high turnover in that division. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz helped negotiate a com…

Crime

A Cheektowaga man was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in Cattaraugus County on Saturday. State Police out of the Jamestown barracks reported that Robert Geddes, 35, of Cheektowaga, was arrested after troopers responded to a report of a car in the ditch on Gurnsey Hollow Road in South Valley. Geddes was found at the scene uninjured. He refused …

Erie County

Odd changes are occurring at the Erie County Water Authority: The staff posted the agency's 2017 payroll to its website without being asked. Complete agenda packets are being posted several days ahead of the board's regular meetings, instead of a partial agenda being posted less than 24 hours in advance, or not at all. Public committee meetings have been called to…

Local News

Employees with Erie County and the City of Lackawanna were shocked after learning that the body of a county administrator and city employee was found Monday in Cattaraugus Creek near the Scoby Dam county park just south of Springville. Daniel K. Fitzgibbons, 47, the county's deputy commissioner of buildings and grounds, had apparently taken his own life Monday after a s…

Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has signed an amendment to the county apprenticeship law, which will now require contractors on county-supported construction projects to offer apprenticeship programs with a graduation rate of at least 30 percent. Since the 2006 apprenticeship law, the county has found some contractors and subcontractors on Erie County projects t…

Erie County

The Erie County Water Authority's staff failed to file financial disclosure forms with the county last year, and nobody with the county noticed. Though the Water Authority falls under state oversight, it is legally required to file disclosure forms with Erie County. The authority did so for years – until last year. In 2017, authority officials failed to complete any …

Erie County

The Erie County Water Authority ranked eighth worst among the 88 largest water providers in the country on a customer satisfaction report by J.D. Power. The Water Authority's ranking has fallen each year for the last three years that J.D. Power has conducted the water utility customer survey. Among major water providers in the Northeast, the ECWA ranked third from la…

Buffalo

Millions in casino money that has been tied up in a legal dispute for years. A new entertainment ticket tax that is barely out of the concept stage. A parking ticket amnesty program that's never been tried before. All these are red flags in Mayor Byron W. Brown's 2018-19 proposed budget, said Buffalo Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder. He heavily criticized the budget as o…

Erie County

Being brought back from the brink of death isn't always a life-changing moment. Just ask Ben Francis. He overdosed on street drugs three times. The last time, he took a shot of what he thought was heroin. Twenty seconds later, he was unconscious on his couch with his lips turning blue. His dealer pulled out a Narcan kit and revived him. Then he left Francis with a sm…

Erie County

Jerome Schad, who has been an Erie County Water Authority commissioner, was named its chairman Thursday. Schad, the Amherst Democratic Party chairman, takes over the position held by Robert Anderson, a Republican who left the Water Authority board after Democrats gained the majority in the Erie County Legislature. Mark Carney, a new commissioner and a Democrat, will …

Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has proposed spending an additional $3 million for 2018 county road and infrastructure work. “After a long and bitter winter, warm weather is upon us and it is time to expedite road repairs in Erie County," Poloncarz said in a statement. "While my administration has already committed an initial $28 million to road repairs in 2018,…

Erie County

A compromise plan to raise pay for all Erie County Child Protective Services caseworkers and supervisors would resolve major wage concerns in a high-turnover unit on the front lines of child abuse and neglect investigations, officials said. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, personnel administrators, Child Protective Services workers and union representatives spen…

Bills

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz got a call from Buffalo Sabres Vice President Michael Gilbert an hour and a half before news broke on Tuesday. Russ Brandon was out. Brandon, managing partner of the Pegula sports empire, had been the county executive's primary point of contact with the Buffalo Bills ever since Poloncarz was sworn into office in 2012. Together, th…

Erie County

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has scheduled community presentations in North Collins, Newstead and Cheektowaga about savings he said can be realized through school district mergers and shared services. Each presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The Poloncarz administration last month released a report that examined school district exp…

Erie County

Twenty Erie County government employees placed on leave for poor conduct – including 11 who were ultimately fired – received $105,000 in paid leave over 18 months, according to an audit by the Erie County Comptroller's Office. "Obviously, I understand if it's a serious infraction and individuals should not be in and around the Rath Building," said Comptroller Stefan I. …