Tag Archives: common

Derenda Part II, Electric Boogaloo

21 Jul

A Buffalo Common Council source told me their strategy for dealing with with Mayor Brown’s nominee for police commissioner is essentially, “Derenda delenda est“.

Later today, at a special session, Byron Brown will resubmit Dan Derenda’s name as his nominee to be Buffalo’s next police commissioner.  This came after the council held up the nomination in committee last week and essentially tabled a vote on Derenda until the completion of the their seven-week summer break.  Since that meeting to table Derenda’s nomination, we were treated to a special hearing with Buffalo Human Resources Commissioner Karla Thomas, at which she was unable to lend credibility to the Mayor’s claim that a national search for a commissioner was undertaken.


This supposed “national search” resulted in a nominee who lacks a college degree or extensive professional training, lacks command experience, may/may not live in the City of Buffalo and whose main qualification appears to be his resume submission to http://geocities.com/friends_of_steve_casey.  As I said the other day, the issue isn’t necessarily Derenda’s qualifications (or lack thereof), but rather the ham-handed way the process was handled by the Brown administration.

There was no need to promise a national search for the job when they had no intention of actually conducting one.  Not following through and not being transparent about the process only gave their political opponents the opportunity to debunk the Mayor’s story.  Which they are doing with great enthusiasm.

The council did not take up the matter of Derenda’s nomination during their regularly scheduled meeting yesterday.  There was debate as to whether or not the Mayor could legally resubmit Derenda’s nomination on short notice and rather than fight out the charter legalities on the floor, the Mayor pulled the nomination.

Today, he’ll resubmit and we’ll see some political fireworks from Councilmen Kearns, Rivera and LoCurto, the three staunchest members of the Derenda opposition camp.  Derenda has support from Grassroots-affiliated Demone Smith, Bonnie Russell and Joe Golombek.  Rich Fontana has also stated that he intends to vote in the affirmative, which means Mayor Brown only needs one more vote for confirmation.  Ellicott Councilman Curtis Haynes has not given an indication of what he intends to do, but he voted to table last week and generally votes with the ECDC/Hoyt affiliated members of the Council.

This makes Council President Dave Franczyk the man of the hour.  What will he do?  I suspect Franczyk can be convinced that it’s in the interest of the city to fill the position and not wait two months for the Mayor to submit Derenda’s name again.  The Council has extracted enough political blood from the Mayor at this point and it’s probably time to move on.

In other news at the council, Kevin Helfer got his patronage job as parking czar and the ECDC Democrats voted down Mayor Brown’s nomination of Grassroots-affiliated David Rodriguez to serve as Corporation Counsel to the City.  They also tabled the Bass Pro Community Development Agreement, perhaps until after the recess.