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Common Council computerizing requests for action

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Mike Desmond/WBFO
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Imagine keeping track of thousands of questions and requests for action to city agencies and city-affiliated agencies. It is routine for Buffalo's Common Council, but it now is setting up a new system to keep track of those queries.
The requests go out, but apparently many never get responses. Council President Darius Pridgen is pushing for a computerized system to keep track of them.

"It can be rather difficult at times to keep track, so I thought this is a good way and also to keep

departments on their toes, so that if we're on this record,  it shows when we ask for something," Pridgen said. "So if you ask for something that should take a week and a year has gone past, we know that we have a problem."

Pridgen said he was pushed into action because of a meeting during budget public hearings, when Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt asked the same questions he never received answers to last year. In a constantly shifting environment, the Council President said there has to be a system for keeping track.

"You can ask things for a year and kind of lose track of them because different things will come to your desk," he said. "So I thought it was important that when Councilmembers ask different departments that we don't directly supervise for items and departments we supervise, that we put it on the record so that the public sees and knows what we are working on."

Pridgen said it is even more important with Council sessions on television. When someone interested in one particular question or request later wants to know what happened, there soon will be a system to keep track of that request.

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.