"I'll probably get a call from downtown," chuckled Lucien Morin, after the former Republican Monroe County Executive expressed criticism of the so called FAIR plan proffered by current County Executive and fellow Republican Maggie Brooks. "But, that's okay," he said.
The FAIR plan takes money away from suburban school districts, which has traditionally been shared by the County from its collection of sales tax. It's a tradition that dates back more than 20-years under the Morin-Ryan Agreement which was crafted by Morin and the late Thomas Ryan, a Democrat who was the Mayor of Rochester when Morin served as County Executive.
In recent weeks much has been made of whether the FAIR plan violates the terms or intent of Morin-Ryan. Brooks has said it does not, while her Democratic detractors have claimed it does, and School Districts feeling short changed have filed lawsuits to undo the FAIR plan.
But no one has, until now, asked the sole surviving architect of Morin-Ryan what he thinks. And his thoughts might surprise his fellow Republicans.
"It really is counter to the intent of Morin-Ryan," said the spry 86 year old Morin. "If it were my show, they would still be getting 100 percent of what they what they were getting. Morin is also critical of the way the FAIR plan was "rammed through without allowing any debate or input from all sides."
At the same time, Morin feels for Brooks. Few can speak to the difficulties of being Monroe County Executive (there have only been four since Morin was elected to be the first to hold that office in 1983.)
"Give her some credit," he insisted. "She came up with a way to balance her budget...and when she came up with another plan which would have avoided all this controversy (raising the sales tax) ...she stood alone with no one willing to support her on that."
Morin, who prided himself in being able to put politics aside for the greater good, appears now to be an elder statesman, who misses the statesmanship which once existed in County Government. "I would have included everyone's input...even the minority," he said. "That's the key to convincing all sides to agree what's best for the community."
Click on the video icon to watch our entire story.