Brian Davis Takes Plea, (Maybe?) To Resign Office
by Geoff Kelly - posted 12:41 pm, November 13, 2009
Word is that Brian Davis will resign claims he is not resigning the Ellicott District Common Council seat this afternoon at one o’clock, after pleading guilty this morning to two criminal charges brought by New York State Police in Judge Thomas Amodeo’s court.
Not a lot of callbacks on this story: Brian Davis isn’t answering his cell phone (his voicemail is full); Davis’s staff isn’t answering their phones, though a friend just strolled by his office and says they’re in there; the troopers have not returned calls.
So who will fill the Ellicott District seat? Word is that Mayor Byron Brown’s camp favors moving Erie County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams into Davis’s seat, and with Janique Curry filling Miller-Williams’s seat. Attorney Bill Trezevant has had his eye on the seat for some times, as has firefighter Bryon McIntyre, who primaried Davis two years ago.
Under the rule adopted after Mickey Kearns won the South District seat vacated by Jimmy Griffin in 2005, the Common Council must advertise the vacancy, accept resumes, interview qualified candidates in public hearings, then vote in a replacement. In the past, the recommendation of Democratic district committee members was sacrosanct when it came to filling vacant seats, but the Common Council itself has the final say — if the committee members recommend someone the majority doesn’t care for, the Council could vote in someone else.
Champ Eve, son of the the legendary Arthur Eve, controls a substantial number of Democratic committee seats in the Ellicott District, as does Niagara District Councilman David Rivera and a number of others generally opposed to Grassroots, the mayor’s political organization. (Grassroots has some committee seats, too, but was greatly weakened in Ellicott in last year’s election.) So any candidate recommended by the party in Ellicott District is likely to be independent of the mayor. The question is whether that candidate will give the current five-member mjaority voting bloc and six-member super-majority that could ovverride Brown’s veto.
Just in time for the annual haggle over the capital budget.
UPDATE: Oh, right the charges: Jim Heaney of the Buffalo News, who’s been bird-dogging Davis all year, says it was personal use of campaign funds.He also pled guilty to filing incomplete campaign finance disclosure forms.
Davis’s lawyer said in court that the councilman did not intend to resign. I guess we’ll see: Erie County Legislator Butch Holt was removed from office when he ran afoul of the law, under the auspices of New York State’s Public Officers Law. Davis is reportedly on his way to be fingerprinted and photographed right now. How can he stay in office if Holt had to go?
Erie County DA Frank Sedita will hold a press conference at 2pm.