Updated: 12:00 AM ET March 23
Hardwick aide gets paid for leaking

Susan Gregg, the controversial aide to Republican Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, will get a $2,800 check for leaking to the Democrats. After an internal GOP email was anonymously passed to Democratic county legislators in December 2014, everyone wondered who was the leaker. Majority Leader Joe Lorigo asked majority staffers to open their county email accounts for inspection - accounts owned by the Legislature, not the staffers. A search proved conclusively that the leak could only have come from Gregg. She was suspended, then later reinstated after a few not-so-mysterious whiney leaks to the press.

Somehow, when you get caught red handed screwing your own people in the Erie County Legislature, you can get paid a few grand by the taxpayers. Feel free to shake your head with disgust.

Updated: 1:13 PM ET March 16
DSS Cover Up for Urban League?

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz moved methodically to replace embattled Social Services commissioner Carol M. Dankert-Maurer, announcing Al Dirschberger as her successor last week. It took quite awhile, but it's done and Dirschberger appears to have clear sailing toward legislature affirmation. Still, this isn't likely to diffuse a recent DSS scandal - covered well by Investigative Post - indicating the Buffalo Urban League over billed the county for social work, then fired employees who blew the whistle.

The county department has so far been unresponsive to audit questions from the county comptroller's office. In fact, since a late November comptroller announcement of an investigation into the matter, not one of government watchdog's questions has been answered. Not even 100 days later.

Insiders say Dankert-Maurer was not responsible for the delays, but instead first deputy commissioner Judith Shanley is the one dragging her feet. She won't depart with the lame duck commissioner; she's still on the job. The prevailing opinion: Shanley and others were moving quickly behind the scenes to cover up Urban League invoices a whistleblower called "blatantly fraudulent billing". Insiders say Shanley has begun her own investigation, reaching out to whistleblowers to find out exactly what they know about the questionable billing as part of the cover up. Somehow, these will become blatantly simple billing errors.

Some say DSS has been slow to respond to the County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw's audit because Urban League president Brenda McDuffie is tight with Poloncarz. And the County Executive is clearly concerned about the issue: One Urban League whistleblower told PoliticsNY.net that Poloncarz personally requested her contact information from Investigative Post reporter Charlotte Keith. (She hasn't heard from him yet.)

Mychajliw is said to be busily preparing subpoenas. But now, with the fix in, you'll soon see a months-late response of "Nothing to see here!" as sure as the sun will shine.

Updated: 7:00 AM ET March 12
Morton returning to Leg??

Insiders say Republican Erie County Legislator Ted Morton will return to the chamber today, something many say is nothing short of a miracle. Just a few short weeks ago, Morton was discovered unresponsive in his home and was rushed to the hospital. He spent several days in a coma and prospects for his recovery were rumored to be dark. Quite the opposite happened: he bounced back with a vengeance. Now out of the hospital, he's still visiting specialists as an out patient. His social media posts are chock full of thanks for the thousands of concerned people across Western New York who prayed for his recovery.

If you don't believe in miracles, stop by the Erie County Legislature this afternoon and you'll see one in the flesh. Welcome back, Ted Morton. Now, get back to work!

Updated: 12:00 PM ET February 26
Morton on the Road to Recovery

Insiders say that while Erie County Legislator Ted Morton remains in Sisters Hospital intensive care, he's made significant healthy progress and is on the road to recovery. The popular freshman legislator's sudden and yet unexplained illness took the entire community by surprise last week and, for a time, there were rumors of a variety health issues careening around County Hall. However, today Morton is awake and communicating and everyone PoliticsNY.net spoke to is optimistic about his recovery.

Updated: 2:00 PM ET February 19
Silver laundered his money in Buffalo?

Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s indictment came down Thursday. Turns out there’s a deep Buffalo connection to his scams: he parked $100,000 at a Buffalo company called Counsel Financial Services. Almost $400,000 more sat at another called JoRon, registered in the Buffalo offices of Z80 Incubator Labs. That’s Queen City bigwig Jordan Levy’s place that just got a cool million and a half from a taxpayer fund controlled by Governor Cuomo. Hmmmm. 

A dozen Buffalonians working in Silver’s laundry include Former Supreme Court justice Joe Mattina and Paul Cody - he’s president of Counsel Financial. He used to head up JoRon. But I'm sure that's just a coincidence, too. Right?

Updated: 7:00 AM ET February 18
Legislator Morton hospitalized

People of all political stripes across Western New York are scrambling for details about the condition of Erie County Legislator Ted Morton, who was discovered unresponsive in the early morning hours Wednesday. The well-liked freshman Republican legislator was admitted to St. Joe's hospital and there's not much more information available. Please say a prayer for Ted's full recovery and for his family as they endure this trying time.

Updated: 8:05 PM ET January 29
Jacobs Closer to Poloncarz Challenge

With Democrat Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz enjoying a lingering popularity surge after the November storm, County Clerk Chris Jacobs told Republicans gathered tonight in East Aurora that he is strongly considering a run at Poloncarz. A meeting of Southtowns chairmen heard a confident message from the Clerk, who politely inferred he's the best Republican for the race. After winning 67 percent in his recent re-election, he found support in the room and suggested he would leave the Clerk's office in good hands. Republican County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw is also considering the race, which County GOP chair Nick Langworthy told the Southtowns chairs will surely cost $1 million to win. To the people in the room, Jacobs sounded like a guy gearing up for a tough campaign. 

Updated: 12:00 AM ET December 27
SCOTUS Justice Kennedy Visits Buffalo

A little birdie told PoliticsNY.net that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was in Buffalo this month. He was noticed by a town committeeman who saw him at the UB Center for the Arts at a performance of The Nutcracker, the weekend of December 8. This clearly sharp-eyed and public-affairs-minded committeeman (I mean, if you were walking through a crowd, would you recognize a presumably "disrobed" Supreme Court justice?), spotted him prior to the performance, went over, and greeted him--albeit briefly so as not to unduly intrude on his privacy. Justice Kennedy told him he was there to see his granddaughter, who was in the performance. The committeeman also noticed a couple of police (either campus or State police) seated near the justice, who the Atlantic Magazine called "the single most important justice on our deeply divided high court." Justice Kennedy is no stranger to Western New York, having delivered a speech at Chautauqua Institution last year which, as the Atlantic described, no one was permitted to record.

Updated: 12:00 AM ET December 19
Poloncarz & Zellner: Holtz Is Out

ECDC Chairman Jeremy Zellner and County Executive Mark Poloncarz are rumored to have sat down with longtime Cheektowaga Supervisor Mary Holtz to ask her to step aside next year. Despite plans to run, rumor has it she was told that former Republican and current Councilwoman Diane Benczkowski will be the party's candidate. Cheektowaga Dems are in shock and many are regretting giving the reigns of the local party back to ECDC from ousted Chairman Frank Max. 

Updated: 7:00 AM ET December 16
Hardwick Aide Wants $10K

Insiders are wagging that Susan Gregg, the controversial aide to Republican Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, has informed the legislature that she demands $10,000 for the "mental anguish" she suffered in a recent dustup over GOP leaks. After an internal Republican email was leaked to Democratic county legislators, Majority Leader Joe Lorigo required staff to open their county email accounts for inspection. A search did not prove anyone as the culprit, but it ruled out everyone but - Susan Gregg. Since the email could only have come from her, she was suspended. Stories about her suspension were then leaked from "Republican sources" to the Buffalo News, quoting Hardwick. Gregg is back at work again, apparently stunned that leaking gets you in trouble with your bosses - and wanting taxpayers to pay $10,000 for a lesson she deserved.

Updated: 5:00 AM ET December 16
McCracken BackIn at ECWA

In a September 12 PoliticsNY.net article, "McCracken Fired from Water Authority", we wrote that sources told us former Erie County Legislator Terry McCracken was fired from his job at the Erie County Water Authority as Director of Employee Relations. Apparently this departure was short lived: McCracken was in attendance as the Director of Employee Relations at the November 25th ECWA board meeting. And this time, he's bringing down $97,000 taxpayer dollars. Merry Christmas!


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