State Agency Censures Water Authority, Seeks Removal of Commissioner

Two prior Republican commissioners, Robert Anderson and Karl Simmeth Jr., have already left the three-member board, leaving only Democrat Jerome Schad, who serves as board chairman.

The Authority Budget Office recommends that the County Legislature fire him, and several legislators said Tuesday they will either recommend Schad’s termination and/or explore how to turn the authority into a county department.

“I hope this report convinces my colleagues that reform is necessary and that they stop protecting the status quo,” said Legislator Thomas Loughran, D-Amherst. “I mean how much evidence do you need?”

The Authority Budget Office pulled no punches in its scathing assessment of the operation of the public utility agency responsible for providing clean water to half a million county residents.

 “Based on the historic issues with transparency and accountability at the Erie County Water Authority, we believe that the Authority would be best served by new leadership, that is more cognizant of its fiduciary responsibility to the Authority and the public,” stated ABO Director Jeffrey Pearlman. “A new board will help to implement and enforce its policies in an environment of transparency.”
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