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Frustrated Warren pushes for changes to bill

Rochester, N.Y.--After reading details of a new bill funding the second phase of a more than one-billion dollar capital city schools project--mayor Lovely Warren is frustrated.

Warren said she was not given a draft copy of the legislation by state lawmakers before it was filed.

The bill would, if passed, fund $435 million for a phase of the Rochester City School District Facilities Modernization Project or FMP.

Already filed in the state Assembly, an accompanying Senate bill was introduced by Senator Joseph Robach on Monday.

"There are serious questions regarding how phase one of the FMP was implemented, how funds were handled, how decisions were made and how timetables were broken," Warren said.

She cited audit reports and an FBI investigation pertaining to phase one.

Warren wants amendments to the bill including making a compliance officer a voting member of the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board which oversees the project and giving the school board and city council greater say in the project.

Warren said she spoke with Senator Joseph Robach, but not with Assemblyman Joseph Morelle whom she blamed for not sending the draft bill to her before it was filed.

Monday morning, Warren sent a letter to local state representatives calling for changes to add safeguards for taxpayers.

In the afternoon, Morelle responded with a letter of his own stating that her concerns had been addressed.

In a statement, Senator Robach said the following:

I am in continued dialogue with all vested parties to achieve a quality piece of legislation that will improve efficiency for Rochester City School District buildings, create a sound and friendly learning environment for students and faculty, and put resources back in to the community by way of good paying construction-related jobs.

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Washington Times