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Don’t criticize library for forward thinking

Let me see if I’ve got this right. Every year the Erie County Public Library System’s budget is subject to the largess of the county executive. (Or not – remember the budget cuts, staff reductions and library closings in recent years?)

So, the library decided to look into what other counties in New York State have done and that is to form its own special taxing district, thereby getting out from under the financial thumb of whoever sits in the big seat that year. What a perfect way to eliminate the up-and-down (mostly down) yearly budget battles that make the library a political football and make it tough to plan for the long haul.

The penalty for such forward thinking? County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw immediately set up an extensive audit of the library and then proceeded to chastise those pesky librarians for spending the money to fund the taxing district study. It should be obvious that to proceed without the study would’ve been financially irresponsible, but that didn’t seem to matter.

It seems that just the thought of losing complete control of the county purse strings prompted the comptroller to immediately take action to nip that idea in the bud. This kind of banana republic action is infuriating to those who love Western New York – even when it can’t get out of its own way. By the way, I wonder how much that extensive audit cost.

Beverly Dams-O’Connor

Clarence