Niagara County is accepting applicants for a public information officer until Friday.

Legislators have been debating whether to retain the position since PIO Christian Peck resigned in August. 

Since then, Executive Assistant Joanna Marble has been issuing press releases for the county.

The 2019 county budget provides a $69,596 salary for the PIO, but Legislature Minority Leader Dennis Virtuoso said that after accounting for fringe benefits, the position costs taxpayers over $117,000.

Virtuoso has called for eliminating the post, saying the political patronage position is an unnecessary expense.

"We're paying almost $2,000 a week for a public information officer that maybe puts out 30 press releases throughout the whole year," Virtuoso said previously. "That's a lot of money for press releases."

But Republican legislators, who hold an 10-4 majority, apparently determined the position warrants its expense. Chairman Keith McNall formed an ad hoc committee — comprised of four Republicans and one Democrat — in October to decide whether to keep the PIO.

McNall did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The job description states the PIO provide "residents and the public with relevant information regarding their government, including resources available, economic development programs and initiatives that support economic growth and development of Niagara County."