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The job description for Erie County comptroller is nebulous, at best. However, the comptroller needs to be the guardian of taxpayer interests with regard to all branches of county government.
The comptroller must be able to work with the county executive, but he must be ready to take on county officials when necessary.
These are basic requirements and while neither candidate for the post is stellar, we believe that Stefan Mychajliw is in the best position to deliver on those duties. David J. Shenk, appointed in February to the unexpired term left vacant when Mark C. Poloncarz became county executive, has not lived up to those expectations.
Shenk, formerly Boston town clerk and an Army reservist who has spent decades in the military, received the support of the Legislature’s six Democrats.
However, in his abbreviated time as comptroller he has not taken on significant challenges. When it comes to borrowing, which the county control board could do more cheaply, he sides with the county executive and wants the county to borrow directly.
In contrast, Mychajliw believes the control board should borrow on the taxpayers’ behalf.
Mychajliw is a former local television investigative journalist, although his background in the news media has little bearing on his qualifications for comptroller.
As a Republican, he would be the counterweight to the Democratic county executive and majority Democratic Legislature. He has promised to do just that and we believe he deserves the chance. Mychajliw recognizes his strengths and shortcomings, and would continue the Poloncarz-era oversight of county government.