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Council looking at creating public advocate position

WBFO File Photo

Common Council members are looking at changing some of the ways city government works, potentially taking some administrative duties away from the mayor and making that more of a policy position.

Instead, the city would gain a public advocate like the one in New York City who would handle complaints and make sure solutions were effectively carried out.

One sponsor is councilmember Michael LoCurto, who says the advocate would be elected city-wide.
"If you follow a New York model, [the advocate] would be able to introduce legislation, as well. It's something that hopefully will get into committee and we can talk about it and come up with something that works," LoCurto said.

The measure is going to committee where it will get a lot more discussion. During the meeting yesterday, several councilmembers say some changes are needed because of the number of complaints about problems they receive even though the city has its 3-1-1 complaint line.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.