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County Republican legislators seek oversight of county-forced business closures


Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone. - PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI
  • Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone.
After a year of many businesses being forced to close due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Monroe County Legislature President Joe Carbone is seeking more oversight in some circumstances.

His solution is the “Business Closure Transparency Act,"  which would require that the Legislature be informed of any business ordered to close by the county government within 48 hours of the business receiving notice. The measure would also require that the county administration produce and publicize a report justifying why the business was closed.

It was not immediately clear how many businesses, if any, have been ordered to close by county government, such as the Health Department or other agency.

Carbone, a Republican, acknowledged that there has not been a dispute over a closure in Monroe County that he knows of, but this bill would guarantee access to information if it happens.

“It's very, very difficult to get the information from the administration,” Carbone said. “So now with this law, they’ll have to give it to us, and if it's fair and transparent and justified, we won’t have to do anything about it.”

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the bill is enacted, the county Legislature would be able to review why the business was closed and would have the right to reverse it.

“This whole law is again for transparency so the Legislature knows what’s going on, so we can pipe in on it,” Carbone said.

Carbone said the measure is based on a similar bill working its way through the Erie County Legislature. If Carbone’s bill makes it out of committee, it likely would be voted on in a couple of months.

James Brown is a reporter for WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.