Tag: City Hall

Sep 28

2022

Raises (but no reforms) for Buffalo police

Published by

Buffalo police just got a raise. The city got nothing — no concessions, no reforms — in exchange. That’s the upshot of more than three years of negotiations between the Brown administration and the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, whose contract expired in July 2019. When talks stalled in early 2021, the dispute put in the hands of a state arbitrator, who was empowered only to deal with pay.  Reform — the mantra of demonstrators and elected officials alike in the summer of 2020 — was sidelined. On July 19, a state arbitration panel awarded Buffalo police raises and retroactive pay worth[...]

Posted 6 days ago

Sep 8

2022

Belatedly, City Hall has an ethics board

Published by

 The city’s ethics board has been resurrected from the dead. Investigative Post reported last month that the ethics board hadn’t met in two and half years because the mayor and Common Council had failed to appoint enough board members to comprise a quorum. Last week, Mayor Byron Brown submitted five nominees for the ethics board to the Common Council for approval. All five were approved Tuesday without debate or discussion, bringing the ethics board to its charter-prescribed membership of seven.  Before Tuesday, it had just three members — one short of a quorum. The five newly appointed members are: John[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

Aug 8

2022

City ethics board out of business

Published by

Last September, 140 people signed a formal complaint filed with Buffalo’s Board of Ethics. The complaint alleged city workers, including police officers, were campaigning for Mayor Byron Brown on city time, using city resources. Almost a year later, there has been no response — not even an acknowledgement the complaint was received.  Little wonder, as it turns out: The ethics board hasn’t met in two and half years. According to the Office of the City Clerk, the ethics board — charged with monitoring compliance with the city’s code of ethics — hasn’t met since Covid struck, “due to lack of[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Jul 31

2022

Feds investigate City Hall (again)

Published by

 Federal investigators are looking into allegations that City of Buffalo employees, including police officers, broke federal law last year while campaigning for Mayor Byron Brown. Investigative Post acquired two emails last week concerning the investigation.  The first, dated June 12 of this year, is a formal complaint to the U.S Office of Special Counsel, alleging “officers of the Buffalo Police Department … appear to have engaged in political activity while on duty or while represented as police officers.”  The second, dated July 11, is an email from a law clerk at the Office of Special Counsel to the author of[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Jul 25

2022

Buffalo is slowly losing its trees

Published by

 Buffalo is cutting down twice as many trees as it’s planting. And residents are noticing the loss. “It’s nothing like when I was a child,” said Catherine Faust, a Highland Avenue resident in the city’s Elmwood Village.  From 2016 through 2020, the city cut down more than 4,300 trees. They only planted about 1,900 new ones.  An Investigative Post analysis found the rate of tree loss is greater in parts of the East Side. Masten District, for example, lost four times as many trees as were planted. “It is one of the most despicable things that I can imagine[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Jul 19

2022

Council adopts new district lines

Published by

On Tuesday, Buffalo’s Common Council voted unanimously to adopt a redistricting plan that community groups and activists have spent the past two months trying to stop. The new district maps comprise an amended version of a redistricting plan unveiled in May by a citizens commission whose members were appointed by the Council and Mayor Byron Brown. The plan — which largely leaves intact the gerrymandering of a decade ago — will now be sent to Brown. The mayor must hold a public hearing on the matter. He then can approve or veto the plan, or allow it to pass into[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Jul 11

2022

City Hall puts off day of financial reckoning

Published by

The COVID pandemic has been very good for the City of Buffalo’s finances. Pandemic relief funds from the federal American Rescue Plan have been a tremendous boon. You can see that money at work right now in city streets and parks. It’s going to help pay for water and sewer projects, as well as micro-loans to small businesses and the expansion of broadband internet access. It helped keep poor city residents in their homes. Most important for city government has been revenue replacement money — cash the federal government sent to make up for revenue the city claims it lost[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Jul 10

2022

Bad governance, poor politics

Published by

This week, Jim Heaney recaps Investigative Post’s coverage of the Common Council’s fumbling of its redistricting process and gives a shout-out to a half-dozen stories that have caught his eye. You can get Heaney’s insights in your inbox every Sunday morning by subscribing to WeeklyPost. Jimmy Griffin used to call city lawmakers the “Comical Council.” If only the current incarnation was the least bit funny. Geoff Kelly has been following the process of redistricting the Council’s nine districts, as required every decade based on new Census numbers. He first reported on the Council’s proposed district lines, gerrymandered to protect incumbents, then[...]

Posted 3 months ago