Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw released a report today uncovering fraud in the Erie County Division of Weights and Measures.
"If one of their inspectors finds that a product does not have the proper weight and it fails the minimum inspection, then you're supposed to conduct the very thorough inspection to determine whether or not that problem is at the store or at the manufacturer," Mychajliw said.
However, it appears that it not what has been happening for several years.
Mychajliw says that the department has not been conducting the second inspection, and handing out fines to businesses if they fail only the first one. "Every single employee confirmed everything that we found. The employees confirmed 'we do not conduct these rigorous inspections.' The director said himself, 'it's too much work, we don't do it.'"
Fines resulting from the failed inspections range from $50-$100.
In addition, Mychajliw says that Weights and Measures Director Edwin Gonsiorek stored his personal vehicle in the department's garage for many months while employees worked to fix it during normal work hours. Mychajliw says he wants Gonsiorek to repay the county the cost of storing the vehicle.
"If I were the boss, I would not accept the fact that one of my directors had stored a classic car, and then had employees work on it during the day. If I'm the boss, my workers are serving the taxpayers every single day, they're not working on a classic car."
What does the boss think? County Executive Mark Poloncarz's office said this morning after Mychajliw spoke with the media that they had not seen the report yet, but Press secretary Peter Anderson says he has an idea what it's all about. "My opinion is this is the Comptroller playing politics. It seems like we see the media on Fridays a lot, we don't see the Comptroller a whole lot yet here we are just before the weekend discussing something that the Comptroller has ginned up."
Mychajliw is also asking State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to review the report, which indicates that problems with the way inspections are conducted have spread statewide.