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New Law Allows for Greater Citizen Input in Filling Council Vacancies

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A city proposition received overwhelming support in Tuesday's election. Now one lawmaker is gearing up for its implementation.

Starting in January, the Buffalo Common Council will be following some new guidelines when filling a vacant Council seat. Under the current rules, when a vacancy occurs, the Council simply appoints a new member. But lawmakers believe that limits a number of interested citizens.

South District Council member Michael Kearns initiated the changes back in June. Later, lawmakers agreed that it should appear on the election ballot. Kearns says the response from city voters was surprising.

This new rule will add a few new steps to the appointment process. Citizens can now submit their resumes to the City Clerk. Kearns believes it would give outsiders, who lack political and party backing, a chance to be considered.

Lawmakers will implement the changes in January. That is when a vacancy will occur in the Masten District. Council member Antoine Thompson was elected to the State Senate on Tuesday.

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