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The Erie County Legislature today unanimously approved the appointment of Jerome D. Schad to fill a vacant seat on the Erie County Water Authority Board of Commissioners.

Schad, counsel to the Legislature’s current Democratic majority, will fill the remaining 2 1/2 years on the term of Christopher J. O’Brien, a Democrat who was appointed to the commission in April, but resigned earlier this month.

Schad’s appointment to the $22,500-per-year post was a formality after Democrats who control the Legislature agreed on his selection earlier in the week. The job is considered politically important because of the patronage opportunities within the Water Authority.

Schad will immediately join fellow Democrat Francis Warthling and lone Republican Earl Jann Jr. on the three-member board. Jann’s three-year term expires in April 2014, and Warthling’s term expires the following year.