The Erie County Executive is raising eyebrows over a six-figure change to the budget after it was approved by county council.

The Erie Times-News reported that during work for last year’s budget, Brenton Davis added roughly $400,000 to the budget for items such as travel, his economic development department and an addition of new staff members.

Now some are questioning the legitimacy of his actions.

Davis added that money by using several vetoes in the 2023 budget, something he said he has the power to do under the Home Rule Charter. And when his vetoes didn’t receive a five-person majority to overturn them by county council, they went into law.

A former member of the county council who was part of last year’s budget process reacted Thursday night.

“We were advised by our solicitor Tom Talarico that they had no legal standing,” said former county council member Mary Rennie. “Since he didn’t have the power to add money to the budget, there was no reason for us to act on those lines. Between the solicitor and our longtime financial advisor, you have people that have between them at least 80 years of service.”

The Davis administration defended their decision Thursday night in a statement that said:

“Meetings with Council concerning the 2023 budget vetoes ended in a stalemate. Council Solicitor Talarico represented the minority view of the council, and the administration saw no reason to waste taxpayer resources to take the matter to court when the vetoes plainly complied with the Home Rule Charter (Article VIII, Section six) and were never overturned by five votes in Council. We stand by our legal position as expressed after the vetoes were removed from the Council agenda on Dec. 15 of last year rather than overturned in accordance with the law.”

County Council Chairman Brian Shank told us the council gave permission for their solicitor to send a letter to the administration offering to work out some sort of solution.