Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Eight seek University District seat

By Jill Terreri

The resumes for a vacant seat on the Buffalo Common Council have arrived in the city clerk's office, and they include the Council's chief of staff, a union representative at Goodyear/Dunlop Tire Corp., a longtime city employee and a video surveillance monitor for the Buffalo Police Department. 

The clerk's office has received eight resumes for a vacancy in the University District as of the end of the day today. 

Continue reading "Eight seek University District seat" »

Today in City Hall: Pridgen's day

By Jill Terreri

A crowd of about 300 people is expected in Council Chambers today at 2 p.m., when Ellicott Council Member Darius Pridgen is elected Council president by his fellow city lawmakers. 

Pridgen, who surprised some in City Hall by his effort to quickly line up the support of all of his colleagues, is so confident that he will be elected Council president that his staff has already moved into the president's office on the 13th floor, and Lovejoy Council Member Rich Fontana has moved out. 

Continue reading "Today in City Hall: Pridgen's day" »

By the numbers: Corner stores in the City of Buffalo

In order to operate a corner store in Buffalo, you have to get what's known as a food store license from the city.

Applications for the license filed in City Hall have to be approved by the Common Council. It costs $115 to apply.

Some city lawmakers have said they think the city has too many of these types of stores, which sometimes can cause problems in a neighborhood, including loitering, illegally high fees for check cashing and expired products.

Earlier this year, Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen said some gravy that expired in 2009 was found on one store's shelf.

Continue reading "By the numbers: Corner stores in the City of Buffalo" »

Recent hires in Buffalo City Hall

One of Mayor Byron W. Brown's key advisors recently received a promotion and pay raise.

Peter J. Savage III earlier this month was named senior deputy corporation counsel, filling a vacancy left after Timothy A. Ball was appointed as the city's top attorney. former acting Corporation Counsel David Rodriguez left for a job with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

Rodriguez held the title of senior deputy corporation counsel before becoming acting corporation counsel (his appointment was never confirmed by the Common Council, hence the acting). Timothy A. Ball was appointed as the city's top attorney on Feb. 7, but Rodriguez did not leave for the housing authority for several weeks.

Savage, who was deputy corporation counsel, has a new salary of $84,564, up from $82,326. That amounts to about a 2.7-percent raise.

There were two new hires also made in the Law Department: Delia Cadle was named to Savage's old spot as deputy corporation counsel (with the $82,326 salary); and Bryan Dolin was hired as assistant corporation counsel, with a starting salary of $53,686.

In the Department of Public Works, Edward F. Anken and Richard M. Veroba were hired in late March as senior first-class stationary engineers at $15 an hour. The department also hired two laborers in its Streets Division: Bonita Brown, who had been an account clerk typist in the department, got a permanent job with a $34,139 salary; and Delano Fabor was hired for a seasonal position at $12.06 an hour.

University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell appointed Tanika Hubbard as a clerk in the City Clerk's Office. Hubbard will earn a starting salary of $30,507.

Two employees of the DPW's Buildings Division and two employees of Management Information Systems saw their jobs change from provisional to permanent status. In the Buildings Division, they were architect Joseph Fanara and engineering aide Joseph Ziemba. In MIS, they were computer programmers Kathryn Barker and Janet SanFilippo.

Previous editions: March 12Feb. 8Jan. 20

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

Five Questions with Bonnie Russell

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.

University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell speaks during a Jan. 24 Common Council meeting. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Bonnie E. Russell

The basics
Age: 52
Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, University district; Council president pro tempore
Family: Married to Buffalo City Court Judge Robert T. Russell, Jr.; three children; three grandchildren
Education: Courses taken at Ohio State University and University of Buffalo
Party affiliation: Democrat
Previous work experience: State of Ohio auditor's office; public relations for the Ohio governor's office; Ohio Department of Agriculture; City of Buffalo affirmative action/equal employment opportunity compliance officer
City salary: $52,000 + $1,000 stipend for chairing Civil Service Committee

Continue reading "Five Questions with Bonnie Russell" »

Recent hires in City Hall

The latest hires in city government include new interns and an aide for Common Council members.

Both South Council Member Michael P. Kearns and Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera have hired former aides as paid interns.

Kearns hired Matthew Fisher, while Rivera hired Sean Mulligan -- both at a rate of $15 an hour.

Continue reading "Recent hires in City Hall" »

Smith, Russell in line for Council leadership positions

Update 4:33 p.m.: Kearns did not keep Finance Committee chairmanship -- that went to Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto.

Here's my story.


Masten Council Member Demone A. Smith said he expects to be named the Common Council majority leader when city lawmakers reorganize this afternoon.

Smith also said University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell will become the new president pro temp of the Council -- which will come with additional duties but no $2,500 stipend -- when the Council holds its reorganizational meeting at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers.

As we already knew, current Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana will take over as Council president, with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk set to lose the post he's held for eight years.

Also according to Smith, who was packing up his Council office today getting ready for a move to the majority leader's office:

--South Council Member Michael P. Kearns will stay chairman of the Finance Committee.

--Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen will become the new Legislation Committee chairman, with the previous chairman, North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr., taking over the Community Development Committee from Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto.

--Russell will keep the chairmanship of the Civil Service Committee, and Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera will stay chairman of the Claims Committee.

A majority vote of the Council is required for leadership and chairmanship posts.

Fontana, Smith, Russell, Pridgen and Golombek are part of the new Council majority, as Fontana had been aligned with Franczyk, Kearns, LoCurto and Rivera.

Leadership positions, except for president pro temp, and chairmanships come with stipends: $10,000 for president; $5,000 for majority leader, and $1,000 each for the committee chairmen.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN



About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |