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Erie County Legislature will hold blizzard response hearings; it's unclear when

While the Buffalo Common Council has been quick to react to the aftermath of the deadly blizzard, the Erie County Legislature has been mostly silent on the issue.

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — While the Buffalo Common Council has been busy during committee and regular meetings in responding to the storm, the Erie County Legislature has been relatively quiet. 

Aside from a resolution highlighting the heroic efforts of local snowmobile clubs, no legislator has put forth a resolution related to the county's response to the storm. 

Forty-six people died in the blizzard in Erie County as of Jan. 19. 

"When you look at it on a county level, I think the government failed many of its residents, to be honest with you," said Erie County Legislator James Malczewski. 

Malczewski represents Erie County District 10, which makes up West Seneca, Elma, Marilla, Aurora, Holland, Colden, and Wales. 

Malczewski took office at the beginning of the year but wants various department commissioners to come forward to committee meetings and take questions from lawmakers. 

"We had one week's warning about this snow," Malczewski said. "To not be prepared is just inexcusable."

Malczewski believes the county lacking emergency services at the height of the storm was the most egregious part of the county's response. 

Various county officials stated that the conditions were simple too dangerous to have crews trying to plow roads from late Friday into Saturday. Many crew that tried to respond to emergencies, such as the Buffalo Fire Department, wound up getting stranded. 

Malczewski wants his colleagues in the legislature to look at the county's plans for American Rescue Plan funds. Similar to what has already been called for by Buffalo Common Council members, Malczewski wants amendments made so emergency response equipment can be purchased. 

"That money has to be used by 2024," Malczewski said. "Let's pull some of that money back and use it for this situation to help all the residents in Erie County."

2 On Your Side reached out to Erie County Legislature Chairwoman April Baskins for an interview. Her office said she was unavailable. 

However, Baskin's office said county commissioners will be invited to committee meetings for blizzard related conversations. Baskin's office did not provide a specific date for those invitations. 

According to the recent agenda for the public safety committee meeting on Jan. 25, there is no blizzard related resolution on the agenda, aside from the county attorney discussing the emergency declarations. That appears to be a simple legal formality, instead of a legislative conversation. 

Chairwoman Baskin's office says there will be an emergency preparedness seminar for women on Feb. 4 at the Delevan Grider Community Center at 1 p.m. You can reserve a spot here.

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