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Gaughan Proposes City Manager for Buffalo

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – One of the candidates running for Buffalo mayor says the city should hire a professional administrator to run day to day government operations. Kevin Gaughan says if he is elected he will hire a city manager.

Gaughan says considering the fiscal troubles of both the city and Erie County, local governments need professional administrators. Gaughan says the mayor should be freed up to go out and sell the city to create jobs and economic development. He says a city manager would be able to oversee important day to day deadlines.

"Over the last decade there have been countless missed deadlines on obligations for the city for state and federal funds. Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal housing funds for needy neighborhoods were missed," Gaughan said. "Public confidence in the ability of the government is at an all time low."

Gaughan says the position would be paid by the philanthropic community, and not by taxpayers. But reporters questioned if those groups would have influence on city business.

"Once you make a contribution to a foundation or philanthropic organization, you relinquish the decision making process of how those funds are utilize," Gaughan said.

Gaughan says he has already started a search for a city manager as part of his campaign. But according to Buffalo Common Council President David Francyzk, the hiring of a city manager would require approval from the Council and a public referendum.

"He is talking about a glorified chief of staff. There is nothing in the City Charter that provides for a person waiting in the wings to magically materialize to become a city manager," Franczyk said. "It does not exist in the charter. It is outside the charter, and is therefore illegal. However, if he wanted a chief of staff funded by philanthropy, and I don't know if the charter would allow for that, he could certainly hire someone on his own staff."

The Council did discuss the potential hiring of a city manager earlier this year, but there was not the support for it.