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Critics and Supporters of Garcia Speak Out at Council Hearing

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Some Buffalo Common Council members say it was one of the most contentious hearings they ever participated in. Supporters and critics of the man chosen to head the city's civil rights commission appeared before the Council's Legislation Committee Tuesday.

The critics accused Andres Garcia of making anti-gay remarks to an employee in his previous position with Kaleida Health. But his supporters say he has always been a friend to the gay community.

Garcia has been tapped to become the new director of the Commission on Citizens' Rights and Community Relations. He denied the accusations and says he won't be deterred.

"I guess I believe in this kind of job," Garcia said. "I was born for this job."

Garcia says he remains hopeful that his appointment to head up the civil rights commission will move forward.