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Council reopens search for South District candidates

With no existing candidate garnering enough votes, the Common Council is again accepting applicants for the vacant South District seat.

"We want to open it up and see if there's anybody out there who's palatable to everybody," Majority Leader Demone A. Smith said this afternoon.

Interested persons must submit a letter and resume to the City Clerk's Office by 5 p.m. Friday.

In the Council's initial search to fill the spot vacated by Michael P. Kearns, 11 people submitted resumes and letters for the position. Six were interviewed by the Council.

Those six will remain eligible for the appointment, Smith said.

Several candidates emerged as serious contenders, but none was able to get the support of five lawmakers, the amount of votes needed for an appointment.

After the interviews, Smith said three candidates emerged: Matthew Fisher, a former aide to Kearns; Bryan J. Bollman, senior aide to Council President Richard A. Fontana; and Anthony "A.J." Verel.

Fisher had the support of four lawmakers, as well as the support of committeemen in the South District.

This morning, Fontana said he planned on talking with some of his colleagues today about the topic, and said there was a chance someone could be appointed tomorrow, which some Council leaders had targeted as a deadline to make the appointment. May 1 was eyed because Mayor Byron W. Brown will unveil his budget, and the Council will begin holding budget hearings on Wednesday morning.

In order to be eligible for the appointment, candidates must be Democrats, as Kearns was, and must have lived in the South District for a year.

A number of candidates have run into issues affecting their candidacy, including questions about Bollman's residency and Verel's past.

You can check out for yourself the credentials each candidate has claimed. Click to get their resume (pdf): Linda M. Bain, Bryan J. Bollman, Patrick B. Burke, Matthew Fisher, Joseph M. Gartler III, Anthony "A.J" Verel.

A couple notes on the resumes:

--Bain previously disclosed that she was close but did not complete the work for her master's degree, even though her resume lists it as an accomplishment.

--There is dispute over just how long Burke worked as an intern for then-County Legislator Timothy Kennedy. On his resume, Burke asserts it was nine months, while Kennedy's office believes it was only a couple months, at most.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

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City of Buffalo | Common Council
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