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We Here Highly Resolve, Part 3

Rath (left) presenting an award, and Hardwick (right)
We Here Highly Resolve, Part 3
A spotlight on two more Erie county legislators who aren’t doing much

For the past several years I have analyzed the resolutions filed by Erie County Legislators. In 2014 the Erie County Legislature addressed 683 resolutions. Of these 683 resolutions, sixty percent honored individuals and community groups, twenty five percent honored people who recently died and only fifteen percent addressed county business.

In November all eleven Erie County Legislators are up for re-election. Sadly only six legislators have an opponent, so many will be re-elected without any real examination or debate of their record. Over the past few weeks, I have been taking a look at incumbent legislators who have an opponent. Those articles are available at Next week this series will wrap up with another profile and some parting thoughts before election day.

Legislator Ed Rath—One Item of Substance In 2014

Ed Rath represents a district covering the towns of Amherst, Clarence and Newstead. He was elected to the Erie County Legislature in 2007, taking office in January of 2008. In 2014, Rath introduced thirty-six resolutions honoring individuals and community organizations, tying him for sixth place out of eleven Legislators for such items. Rath also filed twenty-four resolutions honoring dead people. Honoring the dead is a tactic politicians use to ingratiate themselves with voters. Rath’s obituary efforts tied him for third place among eleven Legislators.

When it came to taking the initiative to file items of substance related to county business, Rath was the prime sponsor of one item, a resolution to indemnify ECC from cost overruns for the STEM building.

When Rath announced his candidacy for County Legislator in 2007 he stated:

“My campaign is based on three key principles, First, the hardworking taxpayers of Erie County deserve new approaches to generating tax relief. Second, there needs to be a restructuring of how Erie County government is managed. Finally, the Legislature must focus on ways to improve the delivery of county services while cutting costs and streamlining the process.”

Rath like most politicians states that his biggest concern is lowering taxes. In 2014, the Erie County Legislature passed a budget that reduced the tax rate by four cents per thousand. I suppose a tax cut is a tax cut but a cut of four cents per thousand of assessed value, hardly seems like much to brag about.

Interested in seeing how Rath spends his time as a Legislator take a look at his 2014 schedule. (You can view Rath’s 2014 schedule here.) When viewing the schedule keep in mind that not every item listed is attended. For example Rath lists every single bi-weekly Amherst Town Board meeting and Village of Williamsville meeting, but sources tell me that Rath has not attended either of these meetings in many years.

Rath is being challenged by Riyam Wannas in the November election.

Legislator Kevin Hardwick—Wasted Potential

Kevin Hardwick was elected to the Erie County Legislature in 2009, taking office in January of 2010. His district includes the City of Tonawanda, Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island. In 2014, Hardwick filed forty-nine resolutions honoring people and community organizations, placing him in sixth place for such items.

Hardwick filed thirty-four resolutions honoring dead people, which put him in second place out of eleven Legislators. Hardwick missed out on being the King of honoring dead people by two bodies to Legislator Lynne Dixon.

In 2014, Hardwick was the prime sponsor of two items of substance: 1) A resolution repealing Sheridan Park Inc.’s consent to acquire cemetery land for a crematory. 2) A resolution seeking to institute term limits for Erie County Legislators.

Hardwick was first elected to office when he was 18 years old and won a seat on a Binghamton area School Board. Hardwick has also served as a Councilman in Binghamton, an administrative assistant to the Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, and as a councilman in the City of Tonawanda. Hardwick has a PhD in Political Science and teaches government courses at Canisius College. On his web site Hardwick states that “The workings of county government are not a passing fancy for me, as I have studied county government for many years.” With all of his political experience and education it is disappointing that Hardwick has not been able to focus his attention on more substantive issues than thirty-four resolutions honoring the dead.

You can view Hardwick’s 2014 schedule here. Hardwick’s schedule lists the meetings for the Tonawanda Town Board, Tonawanda City Council and Grand Island Town Board. Like Rath, Hardwick has not attended these meetings in many years. When viewing Hardwick’s schedule keep that in mind, as these municipal boards meet eight times per month.

Todd Potter, Jr. is challenging Hardwick in the November election.

Find the earlier parts of this story here, Part 1; Part 2.

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