Lenihan Says He Doesn't Want Water Authority Post

8:11 PM, Nov 8, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, N.Y. - With the sudden resignation earlier this week of Chris O'Brien, one of the three commissioners at the Erie County Water Authority, speculation immediately turned to who would replace him.

A source close to O'Brien tells 2 On Your Side's Scott Brown that O'Brien became disillusioned with the politics that permeates the authority.

One of the first names that popped up after O'Brien announced his resignation was that of former Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan.

The choice would make sense in that Lenihan served as a mentor to Jeremy Zellner, the man who succeeded him as chairman and Lenihan would carry out Zellner's wishes when it came to who to hire at the patronage-rich Authority.

But Lenihan tells Scott Brown that he doesn't want the position.

Lenihan saying "I'm not going to move forward with it (meaning his candidacy for the job). I'm not interested in getting involved again in day-to-day politics. I appreciate the support I've received for the job, but am happy with the life I have now, doing some consulting work for non-profits and being on the board of Erie Community College."

So with Lenihan out, who becomes the leading contender for the seat, which will go to a Democrat?

Political sources Scott Brown it could be Zellner himself, the current Democratic party chairman.

There is precedent for this sort of thing - previous political party chairmen have had themselves appointed as commissioner by the county legislature. The part-time position pays $22,500 a year.

Zellner did not return a call for comment.

The legislature is accepting resumes for the commissioner's job and will interview candidates a week from Monday, but most times the legislature simply winds up rubber stamping the choice of the political party chairmen.



















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