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Monroe County Republicans ban budget questions at meeting

Jill Terreri
Staff writer

The powers-that-be in Albany might have largely agreed on a state budget, but Republicans in the Monroe County Legislature said questions about how the spending plan will affect the county were out of order on Tuesday.

Democrats tried to ask the Brooks administration about the effects to the budget during a Human Services Committee meeting, but Republicans shut down the questions.

"This committee has no knowledge of this budget being passed," said Chairwoman Debbie Drawe, R-Penfield.

The Senate began passing budget bills Tuesday night and the Assembly was expected to take action before Friday's budget deadline.

Majority Leader Dan Quatro, R-Webster, also said those questions were out of order.

County Executive Maggie Brooks has offered her opinion on the budget in multiple interviews, and top members of her staff warned two weeks ago that layoffs in the county were likely if certain items contained in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal were passed.

Legislator Carrie Andrews, D-Rochester, asked about the budget's effects and media reports of Brooks' assessment of them, but the administration was prevented from answering by Drawe. Andrews explained that the questions were pertinent during the "other matters" part of the committee's agenda, because so much of the Human Services Department's budget - which funds food stamps, public assistance, day care subsidies and child protective services - is heavily dependent on state aid.

Legislator Willie Lightfoot, D-Rochester, said his fellow Democrats wanted to plan for the budget's impact, not just react to it, but he was also shut down by the Republicans.

"You guys are crazy," Lightfoot said.

"It's wrong to name call," Quatro replied.