Updated: 8:00 AM ET May 25
ECC employees auto-enrolled into union

In a memo obtained by PoliticsNY.net, part time employees of Erie Community College complained to County Executive Mark Poloncarz that they were enrolled as members of CSEA against their will. In the document, two employees of the ECC South Campus Bursar Office claim the "Green Card" campaign of 2015 - where ECC employees were asked to sign cards to join the union - was confusing. "The method and means are criminal," the employees wrote. "We never had an informed choice regarding the union."

The ball is in Poloncarz's court now, as the employees asked him for assistance resolving the matter. 

Updated: 12:00 AM ET January 6
WNY Unions to Protest Union Shop

The union boycott of Lucarelli's Banquet Center in Lackawanna is now "official." Multiple Western New York unions recently informed owner Mike Lucarelli they're pulling all business because he's a Donald Trump supporter. The well known and easily recognizable was featured in media photos and videos at the April 2016 Trump rally seated directly behind the podium. As with most union activity, there's sad irony: Lucarelli's employees are all union. Of course, that means unions are boycotting Mike Lucarelli's union business because he supports the President of the United States.

Friends of the family and longtime patrons of the business are rallying, with politicians like Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw - who volunteered at Trump 's GOP convention - already scheduling a fundraiser at the popular banquet hall this year to support him.

Updated: 6:00 PM ET March 14
Mystery leadership change in Panepinto's office

Preparing for a tough re-election fight in the 60th district, Democrat New York State Senator Marc Panepinto hired a new chief of staff today - Chris Savage, brother of Democrat Erie County Legislator Peter Savage. Tongues are wagging about why the Senator's previous staff leader Danny Corum left so suddenly and unannounced. Some say the Senate Ethics Committee is investigating a sexual harassment complaint involving a young female aide and a male in the office - and it may not be Corum.

This may account for a curious recent policy change advanced by Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner saying if someone is under investigation, the ECDC would take away an endorsement. Prescient reform? Or did Zellner know...

Updated: 1:00 PM ET March 10
Poloncarz Vetoed Residency Requirement

In his State of the County address, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz talked about a residency requirement for new county employees. In fact, County Legislator Joe Lorigo proposed that before, and Poloncarz vetoed the legislation. At the time, he called it unconstitutional. So now he's floating the same idea - the exact law he himself vetoed before. 

Updated: 12:00 AM ET February 16
NYS Senate IDC backing Small?

Newly minted state senate candidate Amber Small has allegedly received a very strong financial commitment from the IDC Caucus of the State Senate. Senator Jeff Klein who runs the IDC has, according to insiders, pledged funding for Amber Small in the mid six figures for her campaign to defeat Senator Marc Panepento. This could throw a real monkey wrench into the plans of Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs who is being courted by Senate Republicans to take down Panepento. He could end up facing Small, a fresh faced female Democrat with little baggage rather than the embattled Panepento in the nearly 3:1 Democrat overlay seat.

Updated: 11:00 AM ET February 2
Sen. Nozzolio retiring?

Albany insiders are telling PoliticsNY.net that Republican State Senatore Michael Nozzolio is set to announce his retirement. This comes one week after he was reappointed chairman of the state Senate's Budget Subcommittee for Public Protection, his office announced. Speculation is rampant, but there's a common phrase afoot: The Skelos Crime Family. 

Updated: 2:00 PM ET January 5
Franczyk Pulls the Plug

Sources tell PoliticsNY.net that Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk will not enter the Democratic primary for Erie County District Attorney. This is bad news for Erie County Democratic Committee chairman Jeremy Zellner, who invested buckets of political capital in a Franczyk candidacy. When Zellner wanted to elect his own DA, Frank Sedita got the Democrat Party cross endorsement for New York Supreme Court and cleared the seat. To some surprise, instead of clerking for Sedita in his new post, First Assistant District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. declared his DA candidacy in September. Zellner boosted Judge Franczyk as the party choice - a longtime member of the DA's office, Franczyk always wanted to be the lead chair. Up until today he was expected to resign his office January 2nd and announce for the campaign. Instead, he pulled the plug.

Updated: 3:35 PM ET December 4
Mills not retiring, paperwork was an error

This statement just in from Erie County Legislature chairman John Mills:

"This afternoon a rumor appeared that I am retiring from the Legislature. This is completely false. Just yesterday I obtained the signatures of all of my legislative colleagues from both sides of the aisle to serve another term as Chairman of the Legislature. I am very much looking forward to continuing in that role and serving my constituents for another two years."

In fact, PoliticsNY.net was alerted earlier today to Mills' filing of retirement paperwork with the Erie County personnel office. As filed, his paperwork was dated after he would be sworn in for his new term as a legislator. As a result, his retirement would have created a vacancy and threw majority control back to the voters in 2016. Mills' Republican Party held on to that majority by a razor's edge in November elections and a special election to replace him would have strongly favored a Democrat.

In fact, Mills had zero intentions to vacate his seat in 2016. He intended to retire before he was sworn in for a new term and begin collecting 30 years of retirement pay along with his salary as a newly sworn-in County Legislator for 2016-2017. Realizing his mistake, the Chairman completely rescinded all paperwork and Erie County personnel contacted New York State retirement officers to make them aware.

He no longer is filing anything at all. 

Updated: 1:04 PM ET December 4
Mills Retiring from Erie County Legislature

BREAKING: Insiders are buzzing that the chairman of the Erie County Legislature, Republican John Mills, has filed his retirement papers with the county personnel department. This could lead to a big 2016 general election which will re-ignites the fight for majority control of the legislature. Stay tuned, we'll report more as this develops.

Updated: 1:00 PM ET November 17
Erie County Legislature sets Syrian* refugee hearing

Sources in the Erie County Legislature tell R&I that Legislator Joseph Lorigo clocked in a resolution yesterday calling for a hearing on the County's refugee relocation assistance operation. Sometime next week, the legislators will examine security measures involved in welcoming 300 Syrian* refugees due in the county in the months ahead.

* NOTE: The term "Syrian" in the current refugee context is a label which may or may not include ISIS fighters.

Updated: 11:00 AM ET November 17
Higgins will seek re-election in 2016

Contrary to a previously posted Rumor & Innuendo, U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins will not leave his Congressional seat and will run for reelection. This from his staff chief, Chuck Eaton:

"Rumor are part-and-parcel of local politics, but this one has no basis in fact. Rep. Higgins will run for re-election in 2016."

It certainly doesn't get more definitive than that. Higgins' retirement is the topic of the rumor mill in the run up to every election cycle. It's always about him taking a big job, usually about a higher ed gig. Two years ago, it was him joining Buff State. Last year it was Medaille College. This year, it's all about him landing at the helm of D'Youville College - and Eaton shut that down with aplomb.

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