Tag: City Hall

Jan 29

2024

Policing Buffalo’s police

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Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia and Mayor Byron Brown testified last fall that the city’s contract with its police union and the power it bestows on an arbitrator make it too difficult to discipline cops accused of misconduct. “I think any chief executive that’s running the department would like to have the managerial ability to run a department, but that’s not the contractual language that was laid out well before my time,” Gramaglia testified during a recent deposition in a police brutality lawsuit. “The arbitrator’s decision, the independent arbitrator’s decision and finding, is final in a disciplinary matter.” Gramaglia and[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Jan 17

2024

PoliticalPost: City auditor quits

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This is PoliticalPost, a weekly newsletter we launched last week. Subscribe here to get Political Post delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning — because it won’t usually be available online. Buffalo’s chief auditor, Kevin Kaufman, has quit his job in the city comptroller’s office. Multiple sources say Kaufman, 48, left for a private-sector job, at least in part due to his frustration with working conditions under Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams. He’d been working for the city a little more than 11 years. Miller-Williams declined to elaborate on his reasons for leaving, referring those questions to Kaufman. She told Investigative Post[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Jan 9

2024

How the Council presidency was won

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Last Tuesday South District Council Member Chris Scanlon won the Council presidency in an 8-to-1 vote. But if the Council’s reorganization meeting had taken place two weeks earlier, it might have been Niagara District Council Member David Rivera instead. The Council presidency is a powerful role — appointing committees, overseeing Council operations, signing off on nearly all the legislative body’s actions. The post was held since 2014 by former Ellicott District Council Member Darius Pridgen, who announced a year ago he would not seek a fourth term in office.  The race to succeed him has raised particular intrigue because Mayor[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Dec 27

2023

Geoff Kelly’s reporting on Roswell, City Hall

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Buffalo’s firefighting fleet Last year’s Christmas blizzard, which killed 47 people, exposed weaknesses in governmental capacity to navigate emergencies. The storm compelled the City of Buffalo, in particular, to confront numerous shortcomings, including inadequate investment in equipment for first responders. As it happened, we’d been investigating the condition of the city’s firefighting fleet in the weeks before the storm hit.  We published our findings in January: Over the past dozen years, Mayor Byron Brown and the Common Council failed to invest in new fire trucks as they aged out. The result was a ramshackle fleet that sometimes failed firefighters even[...]

Posted 5 months ago

Dec 12

2023

City worker in paid leave limbo

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Two years ago, a dispatcher in the city’s water department complained to his supervisors about work conditions at the pumping station on Porter Avenue. His computer didn’t work properly, often compelling him to do the same data-entry work twice, Rashimee Wilson wrote in an email to his bosses, including then Public Works Commissioner Mike Finn.  Worse, he wrote, he wasn’t allowed to leave his post for meal breaks, not even when he was asked to work two eight-hour shifts in a row.  Further, Wilson claimed, the department’s seniority system granted privileges and accommodations to white employees that were denied to[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Dec 6

2023

City employee retires after years on paid suspension

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The Buffalo Fire Department clerk who spent seven and a half years on paid leave — costing taxpayers nearly $600,000 for no work — has retired. Officially, Jill Repman’s last day on the job was Nov. 30, according to the Office of the State Comptroller.  In reality, she hasn’t done a lick of work for the fire department since accused of wrongdoing in January 2016 and suspended with pay. Even after being ordered back to work in September, Repman used vacation days and other paid time off to avoid coming to work before filing for retirement. It’s been nearly eight[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Nov 30

2023

City will repair building, won’t evict hostel — yet

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Hostel Buffalo-Niagara lives on. For now. Over two dozen board members and supporters of the institution attended an emergency meeting held by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency Thursday morning to determine the future of the hostel at its current location.  The BURA board voted unanimously to approve renovations to 664 Washington St. — a building attached to the rear of the hostel, which faces Main Street — not to exceed $2 million in cost. The structure, owned by BURA since 2002, was cited earlier this year by both the city and an engineering report for posing extreme safety hazards to[...]

Posted 6 months ago

Nov 28

2023

Spending more on settlements than services

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The City of Buffalo will borrow $43 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a woman rendered a quadriplegic after a police officer hit her with his patrol car more than three years ago. It is the largest payout for a personal injury lawsuit in the city’s history. The city’s top attorney called it “unprecedented.” A city lawmaker called it “catastrophic.” With interest, the total cost of the settlement could approach $50 million, based on current lending rates for municipal bonds, adding nearly $10 million to the city’s annual debt service over each of the next five years.  That’s an[...]

Posted 6 months ago
Investigative Post

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