Buffalo has a new special events coordinator and a new director of real estate among its latest hires.
Kimberly C. Trent has been hired to fill the vacant special events position in the Brown administration, a post that pays $70,215 a year. Trent's appointment was effective April 30, and she lived in Orchard Park at the time she got the job, according to documents filed in the City Clerk's Office. She will have to move into the city to comply with the residency requirement for most city employees.
Christie R. Nelson has been appointed the city's director of real estate in the Office of Strategic Planning. Nelson, whose appointment was effective May 29, will earn a starting salary of $72,872.
In City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder's office, the city's chief fiscal watchdog has hired a new special assistant and changed the title of one of his aides.
Less than a week after being appointed to the Common Council, the city's newest lawmaker was tapped with a committee chairmanship.
Council President Richard A. Fontana has appointed South Council Member Christopher P. Scanlon as chairman of the body's Finance Committee.
"I just have to say that I see this as a pandering, political stunt," Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk said on the Council floor this week.
Scanlon replaces Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto, who held the post since early January. (Before him, former South Council Member Michael P. Kearns held it.)
Franczyk asserted Scanlon's appointment to chair the committee was an attempt by Fontana to add a sixth member to the Council majority.
"If you want to have someone to be an ally of yours, or a sixth vote, ask him for it. Don't pander to them; don't patronize them. Ask him for it and let them make up their own [mind]," Franczyk said. "But this kind of pathetic pandering for a freshman councilman, to me, does a disservice to the spirit of the [city] charter and to this council."
Council Member Darius G. Pridgen today will introduce a measure calling for the city to study and implement a system of neighborhood parking permits around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The city lawmaker, whose district includes the Fruit Belt neighborhood adjacent to the medical campus, said he has heard from residents who have had trouble finding parking spots near their homes due to those working at and visiting the campus.
Pridgen's resolution also states the Council will pursue state legislation allowing the neighborhood parking permit system.
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.
As expected, the Buffalo Common Council this morning appointed Christopher P. Scanlon to the vacant South District seat.
Scanlon, whose term runs through the end of the year, fills the post vacated after Mickey Kearns won a special election to the State Assembly.
Scanlon was appointed by a 5-3 vote, with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk, Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera and Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto voting for former Kearns aide Matthew Fisher.
Listen to Scanlon speak with reporters after the vote:
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.
Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen speaks during a Jan. 24 meeting of the Buffalo Common Council. (Derek Gee / Buffalo News)
Darius G. Pridgen
The basics Age: 47 Job title: Buffalo Common Council member, Ellicott district Family: Father of three girls and two boys (all adults); grandfather of six. Education: B.S. in criminal justice (Buffalo State); master's degree in organizational leadership (Medaille) Party affiliation: Democrat Other current employment: Senior servant of True Bethel Baptist Church Previous work experience: U.S. Air Force; U.S. Postal Service; Spanish teacher at School 43 City salary: $52,000 + $1,000 stipend for chairing Legislation Committee
The Buffalo Common Council is inviting five new candidates for public interviews for the South District seat Tuesday morning.
The candidates submitted resumes as part of the second round of the search to fill the vacant South seat, which followed a first round where none of the candidates emerged with the support of enough lawmakers.
The interviews will be held at 10:30 a.m. in Council Chambers in City Hall.
Earlier today, Majority Leader Demone A. Smith said he was not sure whether there would be public interviews or if the new set of candidates would interview one-on-one with lawmakers.
The South seat has been open since Michael P. Kearns won a March 20 special election for State Assembly. After none in the first round of candidates could garner the five votes necessary for the appointment, the Council reopened the search April 30.
Former Kearns aide Matthew Fisher received the endorsement of the Democratic Party committeemen in the South District, and has had the support of four lawmakers.
A couple weeks ago, questions arose about whether one of Council President Richard A. Fontana's staff members met the residency requirement to be appointed to the vacant South Council seat.
After it came to light that Bryan J. Bollman passed elections petitions for his boss that said he lived in Lovejoy instead of South, Fontana said he would be asking for a legal opinion from the city’s chief attorney.
At the time (April 18), Fontana (pictured at left) seemed to think Bollman (pictured at right) could still meet the requirements, arguing there was a difference between a “residence” and a “domicile.”
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 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.
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.