Tag: City Hall

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 7 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 7 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 8 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 8 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 8 months ago

Nov 20

2023

License plate readers target minority neighborhoods

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Buffalo police have quietly installed license plate readers at 41 intersections in the city, two-thirds of them located in neighborhoods populated predominantly with people of color.  Buffalo police, in response to a Freedom of Information Law request for the department’s policies on license plate readers, wrote that they’re used for “law enforcement investigative purposes only.” While it’s unclear how the department now is using readers, police in the past used mobile readers to issue traffic tickets, at considerable profit to the city.  Unlike many other cities, neither the police nor Mayor Byron Brown, their commander in chief, have made the[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Nov 17

2023

Neglected building threatens Theater District hostel

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The city’s only hostel, which hosts some 6,000 travelers a year in the Theater District, is facing the prospect of eviction because an adjacent city-owned building is in danger of collapse after years of neglect. Recent inspections by the city and an engineering consultant found the vacant, rear section of the hostel building has deteriorated to the point that it could jeopardize the structural integrity of the hostel. The rear building, which faces Washington Street, is separate but attached to the hostel building at 667 Main St.  Hostel Buffalo-Niagara is across the street from Shea’s Performing Arts Center, two doors[...]

Posted 8 months ago

Oct 24

2023

Mayor’s half-baked paid leave report

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Last month, Mayor Byron Brown promised his administration would begin issuing “a comprehensive report encompassing all employees on paid leave” for each biweekly pay period. Investigative Post obtained a copy of the first such report last Thursday, a week after it was distributed to department heads on Oct. 12.  It is hardly comprehensive. The report indicates more than 1,400 city employees across 15 departments — about half the city workforce — took some sort of paid leave during the pay period covering the last two weeks of September. The report identifies the employees by name and department, and identifies the[...]

Posted 9 months ago
Investigative Post

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