Olegeri not afraid of a fight...

We spoke to the republican and democrat candidates for Erie County Council and what we found is that they are on two different ends of the spectrum.   The one thing both candidates have in common is the obligation to serve the people and the taxpayers because it is the taxpayers' money.  That appears, though, to be the only thing the candidates are agreeing on.

Erie County Executive Republican Candidate and Businessman, Art Oligeri, wants to, as he puts it, "raise the red curtain," saying county government needs to be more transparent on finances, contracts, and bids. 

Democratic County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper says the county is the most transparent it's ever been, but Olegeri says it's not good enough.  He says the County Pay Plan recently voted on, the new skylight in the Blasco Library, and the funding around the Next Generation Radio System all should be more transparent.  He says some of these items are costing the taxpayers more than anyone was told.  "One hundred percent of the people aren't necessarily going to agree with every one of my decisions, but they'll know the decisions, they'll know the facts and they'll know the why I did it," says Olegeri.

Kathy Dahlkemper says maybe he just didn't do enough research.  "We've always had the budget online, but now you can actually click on a very intuitive program and you can drill right down to what revenue is coming into the county and what expenses the money going out. You can find out how much we spend on all of our contracts."

Olegeri is also questioning the donations made to her campaign from the consultant company used for the radio system.  However, Dahlkemper saying hiring the consulting company dates back to 2002 before she took office, and says she didn't hire her friends, but the professionals needed to get the job done.

Olegeri then, going on the offense, saying, "How can you make an error of $80,000? Once again, I'm a guardian and a steward of the taxpayers' money. I find it very, very hard to do that, and say to the taxpayers, 'we need $400,000 for a skylight.'"

Dahlkemper responded simply, "I'm extremely proud of our bidding process here, and as we've actually made it better, we can actually save more money. The radio project is just one of those examples."


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