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The Common Council’s Holiday Spirit

Occupy Buffalo

Occupy Buffalo, by Flickr user dhnieman

Each Buffalo Common Council member is allocated a certain budget to hire staffers. Some have two, others have three. North District Councilman Joe Golombek is leading a charge to limit the number to two, citing the legacy costs for a third staffer.

The Council members with three staffers are Kearns, LoCurto, and Rivera, and it’s a longstanding tradition that Councilmembers are free to staff their offices however they see fit. One council staffer tells me that the legacy costs for the three-staffer offices are negligible, since these three staffers share a pot of money in such a way that they are very poorly paid, many of whom work part-time, or are interns, never incurring any legacy costs at all. As to those who do incur legacy costs, it’s not breaking the city’s bank.

The joke of this is, as Mickey Kearns pointed out, that the city budgets for 200 – 250 vacancies every year. The incoming Fontana-led majority, (which I’m told Golombek agreed to join after being assured that he could make an issue out of this no-three-staffers issue), also plans to slash the pay of some key council staffers, and will add a $2,500 stipend to the President pro Tempore.

In other Common Council news, while the members were bickering and nickel-and-diming each other, the council punted again on proposed Food Truck legislation, sending it to the Legislative Committee, which meets next on Wednesday January 4th at 2pm.


Photo by dhnieman.

 

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  • wolfpack

    Two full time “hacks” and maybe a paid intern or two so young people learn about government seems like a good compromise.

  • Ward

    “Majority”? “Minority”? How can this be, since they’re all from the same party?
    Welcome to Buffalo. What a hackerama.

  • hey “wolfpack”– I understand and respect your opinion about the level of staffing but please don’t call me a hack. I have worked in the Niagara District office for four years and I love my job. My colleagues and I work hard, and we weren’t hired as political favors to anyone. Our third staff member, just so you know, graduated from UB Law in May. His political connections were non-existent and he was hired based on his merits.