January 16, 2013 - 9:54 AM
By Jill Terreri
It appears that the Common Council has settled on a chief of staff. Majority Leader Demone Smith said that Rasheed Wyatt, who is a senior legislative assistant on the Council's central staff, will be selected to fill the vacant chief of staff position.
Such an appointment requires five votes from the nine-member Council, and Wyatt appears to have the support he needs, Smith said.
Smith is the leader of a six-member majority that includes Council President Richard Fontana of Lovejoy, University Council Member Bonnie Russell, Ellicott Council Member Darius Pridgen, South Council Member Christopher Scanlon, and North Council Member Joseph Golombek.
In October, Wyatt's promotion to his current position was confirmed by the Council without debate.
Wyatt would replace Kevin Linder, whose last day was Jan. 4. Deputy Chief of Staff Todd McAlister has been running the office since then.
Also today, top officials from Brown administration will question Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak and his staff during a CitiStat meeting at 11 a.m. Public Works is a sweeping department whose work affects every city resident, from clearing streets of snow, paving, park maintenence and garbage collection. A live blog of the meeting will appear in a separate post on Politics Now.
Earlier this morning, the Environmental Management Commission met on the ninth floor, where Chairman Joseph Gardella expressed frustration with the way the commission's input has not been sought on environmentally sensitive projects, such as the new South Buffalo Charter School.
Lawyer Adam Walters, representing Niagara Metals, and West Hertel Association Chairperson Margaret Szczepaniec appeared at the meeting to express their concerns about a scrap metal recycling facility proposed for the corner of Hertel and Military. Ben Weitsman and Son of Buffalo would like to take over the former Auto City of Buffalo junkyard. The plan was delayed by the Planning Board yesterday, as the board told Weitsman representatives to do a further noise study. While some neighbors are concerned about the project, a few observers noted yesterday that Rocco Termini, who is investing $30 million nearby, did not voice any objections to the project at the Planning Board, where his project and the Weitsmans' project was on the agenda. The Common Council has also delayed action on the project. It appears no approvals will be granted until at least Jan. 29.