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Fontana elected new common council president

WBFO News photo by Ashley Hassett
Lovejoy Common Council member Richard Fontana elected Tuesday as new Council president

The Buffalo Common Council has elected new leadership. 

Lovejoy District lawmaker Richard Fontana has been elected to serve as Common Council president, knocking out long-time council president David Francyzk. 

Lawmakers voted in favor of Fontana to serve as next council president. 

“Having worked with and looked up to many Council Presidents, it is a sincere honor to be elected by my colleagues to the office. A strong, independent, and proactive legislative branch of government is and always has been my vision for the Common Council," said Fontana.

Masten district lawmaker Demone Smith has been elected to serve as Council Majority leader.

“I look forward to further serving the constituents of the City of Buffalo," said Smith. 

Francyzk had served as council president the last eight years and Fontana served as majority leader for the past four years.  

 University District Council Member Bonnie Russell has been elected to serve as President Pro Tempore.

“I look forward to serving as President Pro Tempore of the Buffalo Common Council.   Once again, I begin another elected term as the only female serving on the Common Council and I am proud to join Council President Richard Fontana and Majority Leader Demone Smith as we start off our new leadership; professional, committed and focused on the issues and the people we serve in the City of Buffalo," said Russell. 

Following the reorganization, lawmakers voted to amend the Council's Rules of Order.  They've  reduced the number of full-time employees working in the district council offices to two people. They also called for a reduction in the salaries of Common Council staff employees and enhanced the duties of the Council President Pro Tempore.  

Lawmakers say this will result in a savings in both healthcare and pension costs to city taxpayers more than $40,000.