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BERC Board Appoints New Interim President

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WBFO News photo
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BERC meeting at City Hall

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation known as BERC met at City Hall Friday morning. The BERC board has been at the center of a recent investigation into possible misuse of block grant funding.

Mayor Byron Brown is chairman of the BERC board. A few weeks ago Brown asked his economic development commissioner Brian Reilly to resign as president of BERC.

Friday board members approved an interim president. Dennis Penman was selected. The board emerged from an hour and a half executive session before voting to approve Penman's appointment. Mayor Brown says Penman has past experience dealing with HUD and has no ties to City Hall.

"He is currently not doing any business with the City of Buffalo. There are no conflicts of interest. We have reached out to HUD to vet Mr. Penman and his credentials and to make sure there are no outstanding issues with HUD," said Mayor Brown.

Penman says he has accepted this role at the request of the Mayor.

"We've worked together on the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation since the Mayor has been in office. He is the chairman of that board, so we have had the opportunity to spend a lot early morning meetings together with the same goals in mind that BERC has, and that is to make this city an economic viability place to do business and to live and to work, and create job opportunities," said Penman.

Penman is the executive vice president of MJ Peterson Real Estate. Penman has also served on numerous boards in the Buffalo community.