Buffalo, N.Y. - Stefan Mychajliw, who was elected Erie
County Comptroller on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines, is going to be a man walking on a tight rope if he wants to fulfill his campaign pledge of going after political hiring and financial wrongdoing, no matter where he may find it in county government.
Mychajliw was sworn in on Thursday and sitting in the first row were two men who helped elect him - Republican party chairman Nick Langworthy, who has enormous sway in terms of who gets hired at places like the Board of Elections and Water Authority, and Conservative party chairman Ralph Lorigo, whose son is a county legislator.
Scott Brown: "Can you really be fair and hard hitting if you owe these political bosses your job?"
Stefan Mychajliw: "I went (campaigning) door to door for many months and our message of independence is what carried the day (with voters). We are going to hold all politicians accountable and I don't care if they're Republican, Independents or Conservative."
Scott Brown: "Will we see any politically-connected people getting a job in your office?"
Stefan Mychajliw: "To answer your question, we are going to hire the best and the brightest. And you'll see that when we announce our position for Deputy Comptroller for Finance."
That person is expected to be Greg Gach, a 30 year veteran of county government who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats in key financial positions.
There was a surprise among those at Thursday's swearing in: the County Executive.
There's already speculation that Mychajliw may one day want his job.
Scott Brown: "His job is to do audits, do you think you're going to get a fair shake from him?"
County Executive Mark Poloncarz: "I think so. I understand that the comptroller's office does have a legitimate reason, it's a check and balance on the other branches of government, the legislature and my office. My predecessor didn't understand that, I do."
While he was running for office Mychajliw highlighted his immigrant roots, and standing next to him at his swearing in was his father, who emigrated here with his family from the Ukraine.
Scott Brown: "What did it mean to have your dad here and that he was able to vote for you?"
Stefan Mychajliw: "It meant the world to me to have my father here. My father was born in a country where he never would have had the right to vote and this year he was able to go into a voting booth and vote for his own son with his own name. My parents and family made incredible sacrifices to make sure this poor kid from William and Fillmore (on Buffalo's East Side) could have the opportunities that they never had."
Mychajliw was elected to fill out the last year of Mark Poloncarz's term as Comptroller.
Mychajliw will now almost immediately begin running for a full four year term that will be voted on next November.
Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner says his party may not have a candidate to run against Mychajliw for another few months. Zellner says he's potentially looking for someone with an accounting background, that would highlight the fact that Mychajliw does not have any experience in finance.