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The Career Politician: The Risks and the Rewards

Buffalo, NY (WBEN/AP) As George Maziarz declines to make another run for State Senate after 20 years in office, some are wondering if politicians stay in office too long.

Maziarz Departs: The Latest

- An attorney for former Chief of Staff Alisa Colatarci says she has been subpoenaed, is not the target of a federal probe, and is co-operating with US Attorney Preet Bharara.

- North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt is mulling a run and says he will decide within the next few days.

- Gia Arnold, who had already launched a primary battle against Maziarz criticized the various county Republican and Conservative chairs in the Maziarz district, saying she is being shut out of consideration.
"Often times, people do stick around too long," says Dr. Kevin Hardwick, political science professor at Canisius College and Erie County Legislator.

"One of the biggest problems is no one can beat them in an election because they've been there so long and done so many favors the other side doesn't keep them honest and put up anyone good," explains Hardwick.

But a career politician is not all bad.

"The longer you're there, the more experience you have, and you can say the better job you're doing, compared to a freshman. Once you know how to get things done, you can be more effective. In politics, where seniority often comes into play, you move up in the ranks and you can bring home more bacon for your constituents compared to when you're there for a year or two," says Hardwick.

Exclusive WBEN Audio
Buffalo's Early News In-Depth: 
Hear Canisius Prof. Kevin Hardwick, Erie Co. Legislator
with John Zach & Susan Rose

On Long Term Politicians 
On Term Limits - Coming To Erie Co.?
On Public Retirement Plans for Pols
The Maziarz War Chest & What's Next for the Seat

Hardwick says the job of a lawmaker a long time ago was to serve in office while working a full time job, and in New York, there were a lot of farmers. Not anymore, says Hardwick. "You don't have the job to fall back on and that's not necessarily a good thing," he believes. "You become reliant on the job and you don't have anything to fall back on, and you'll try to win at any cost."

Maziarz, 61, announced his plans Sunday night, saying in a statement that he has been considering his retirement for five years and that he lacked the "passion and commitment" to mount another campaign for the seat he has held since 1996.

He has denied that his decision has any connection to a federal probe of his campaign accounts.

Maziarz's decision comes less than a week after the resignation of his former chief of staff Alisa Colatarci. Her attorney, Dan French, said Monday that Colatarci received a subpoena regarding Maziarz and his campaign committee from the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

"Alisa is not the target of the investigation and has cooperated fully," French said.

Bharara's office wouldn't comment on whether such an investigation is taking place, but Bharara has vowed to make political corruption cases a priority, and has questioned a decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to disband The Moreland Commission,  an anti-corruption panel set up by the governor  earlier this year. Bharara's office took possession of The Moreland Commission documents when their probe ended.

RELATED: from City & State Magazine- May 11, 2014
Inside Moreland: Documents Reveal Details of Lawmakers Campaign Spending:

"State Sen. George Maziarz shelled out more than $140,000 in campaign funds over a six-year period without identifying what exactly he purchased, according to an investigation by the now defunct Moreland Commission on Public Corruption—by far the most of any state lawmaker. State Sen. Patrick Gallivan was found to have about $80,000 in unreported campaign credit card expenses, including hundreds of dollars spent on cigars, tanning, and at salons and casinos....."      READ MORE

The Race To Replace Maziarz:

Even before his resignation, Maziarz had faced a primary challenge from local businesswoman Gia Arnold (Pictured R, in a recent WBEN appearance)

. Niagara Falls School Board member Johnny Destino plans to run for the seat as a Democrat.

On Monday Arnold released a statement critical of the Niagara, Orleans and Monroe Counties' Republican and Conservative parties, saying she has been denied the chance to interview for the post. 

North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt has said he is considering a run, and could be the likely party choice to run in place of Maziarz.  By announcing his decision after petitions for Maziarz re-election have circulated, Maziarz has created a scenario where party leaders can designate his replacement anytime before July 18.

From : More from Ortt on a timetable for running

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Locations : BuffaloNew York
People : George MaziarzKevin Hardwick
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