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Battle brewing between county leaders

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Battle brewing between county leaders
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Battles between executives and legislators are nothing new. Washington is bracing for a number of showdowns to come between democrat Barack Obama and House republicans. What is unusual is when the battles are between an executive and lawmakers of the same party. YNN's Bill Carey says just such a battle is underway in Onondaga County.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "I think it's become clear in the last few days that the relationship is not great,: said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

It could be the political understatement of the year. After bruising battles over a sales tax formula and county budget vetoes, the relationship between the republican Onondaga County Executive and republicans on the Onondaga County Legislature has hit a new low. Lawmakers are now openly critical of their fellow republican.

"The legislature is the governing body of Onondaga County. And she's having a very difficult time understanding that," said Onondaga County Legislator Robert Warner.

Even more troubling for some lawmakers, claims that Mahoney has worked behind the scenes to push opponents within her own party out of office.

"This county executive wants to be in control of everything. And when she has someone who disagrees with her, she takes this personal and they try to remove them," Warner said.

The County Executive, in Albany for a meeting of the state's association of counties, is dismissing that claim.

"The rumors are rampant and there are grown professionals who seem to be willing to react to any rumor that comes down the pike," Mahoney said.

The intra-party battles for the GOP come on the eve of elections in 2011 that will decide who will hold virtually every elective office in Onondaga County. The county's republican chair, refusing to take sides in the very public dispute, says he wants it resolved.

"And I would much prefer that we iron out our differences behind closed doors as republicans and move forward for the best interests of the county and the best interests of the residents and the taxpayers of this community," said Thomas Dadey, Onondaga County Republican Chairman.

Legislators say past battles have created a lack of trust in their relationship with the executive. They say Mahoney needs to work on that. For her part, the county executive says she is willing to move forward, battles or no battles.

"There's no requirement that they like me. They're only really required to work with me, because we all represent the same people," Mahoney said.

County Executive Mahoney is due to outline her plans for the county to lawmakers in her annual State of the County address later this month.

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