Minority Caucus names Mills leader for 2012
Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick will once again serve on the Finance and Management Committee and oversee the administration of the county's $1 billion budget. He was also named to the Community Enrichment and Government Affairs committees during the annual reorganizational meeting held Jan. 5.
Hardwick represents Grand Island in the Erie County Legislature.
"The most important responsibility we have as legislators is the oversight of the county's annual budget. Ensuring that every tax dollar is spent wisely is always at the forefront of every decision I make," said Hardwick. "I believe Erie County is on the right track, having recorded a surplus the past several years by improving efficiency and downsizing government, and we can't afford to get off track."
Hardwick added that he is looking forward to handling the issues put before the Community Enrichment and Government Affairs committees as the decisions made by those committees are very important to constituents and their quality of life.
Also at the annual reorganizational meeting, Erie County Legislator John J. Mills had the unanimous support of the Minority Caucus to serve as minority leader of the Erie County Legislature for 2012. Mills has held the post since 2007.
The Minority Caucus includes legislators Hardwick, Lynne Dixon, Joseph Lorigo, and Edward Rath III.
"I am honored to once again have the support of my colleagues to serve as minority leader of the legislature," said Mills. "There are a lot of changes occurring, including a new administration under County Executive Mark Poloncarz, and new, larger legislative districts. The legislature will have to work together to handle the challenges that come with balancing a budget while providing services and maintaining an aging infrastructure. I look forward to working with my caucus members and the entire legislature to put forward resolutions that will improve Erie County."
The Minority Caucus' responsibilities escalate this term, as the divide among caucuses is very slim, separated by one legislator. The Majority Caucus holds six seats while the Minority Caucus has five.
"The Minority Caucus has control over whether or not the county will spend surplus dollars or bond for expenditures because both actions need a super majority approval, eight votes," said Mills. "It will be imperative that both sides work together on all issues to ensure that tax dollars are allocated efficiently."
"The Minority Caucus will have a stronger voice in the 11-member body and I think this will bring improved efficiency to county government and programs."
Legislator Joseph Lorigo congratulated Minority Leader Mills on his appointment.
"John Mills has proven himself to be a man of good character and judgment. I was happy to lend my support to Legislator Mills, and look forward to working with him during the next year," said Lorigo.
The legislature will hold its next session at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, in Legislative Chambers, 92 Franklin St., Buffalo.