7-4-20 As Seen on Spectrum News - William F. Savino, Esq. represents Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw in Lawsuit Against Poloncarz Over County Employee's Pay

Posted on July 04, 2020

Mychajliw Files Lawsuit Against Poloncarz Over County Employee's Pay

By Brandon Lewis Erie CountyPUBLISHED 9:35 PM ET Jul. 03, 2020 UPDATED 10:20 PM ET Jul. 03, 2020

Tensions between Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw have reached new heights.

What You Need To Know

  • Mychajliw files lawsuit against Poloncarz
  • The comptroller is accusing the county executive of wrongly reducing the pay of one of his employees
  • Employee in the middle of the lawsuit is Associate Comptroller Lynne Dixon

"This is going to be an important case for county government for decades," said William Savino, the attorney for Stefan Mychajliw.

Poloncarz and Mychajliw are making headlines once again as the two could soon face off in court. Mychajliw filed a lawsuit against Poloncarz asking a state Supreme Court judge to abolish the Poloncarz administration's decision to reduce the salary of Associate Deputy Comptroller for Communications, Lynne Dixon.

Savino said, "This is a direct incursion of the authority of the comptroller to manage his own budget."

Last fall, Dixon lost the Erie County executive race to Poloncarz. In January 2020, she took a job as associate deputy comptroller for communications. Court documents claim Poloncarz's office approved her appointment, which included a Step 5 salary. Last month, the county's personnel commissioner sent a letter to Dixon saying she's been overpaid for the position, needs to repay more than $5,000, and been given a Step 1 salary, which is lower. The letter claims her initial salary was the result of an error.

"It's an illegal act," Savino said.

Savino says the Erie County Legislature appropriated funds in the 2020 budget for a Step 5 salary for Dixon’s position. The lawsuit accuses the county executive of not properly going through the legislature to approve the pay cut.

“This case is not about politics, it’s not about personality," Savino said.

Dixon released the following statement:

"This important litigation is far bigger and more important than one person. It’s about the balance of power given to the Taxpayer’s Watchdog by the people themselves, to fulfill the obligation of checks and balances in county government."

Savino said, “The comptroller is the watchdog, there is a reason it has independence over the budget once adopted and this is undermining that independence.”

The executive’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

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William F. Savino