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June 4, 2008 - 3:26pm

Police Chief by the end of the week?

posted by Philip Anselmo in police chief, city manager.

Dan Fischer of WBTA reported today at noon that City Manager Jason Molino "expects" to have a police chief chosen by the end of the week. Molino declined to name either of the candidates — the search is narrowed to two — though he did say that one hailed from Genesee County, the other from somewhere else in the state, but nothing more specific. He apparently did not, for example, say in which part of the state the out-of-county candidate resides.

Lt. Eugene Jankowski has been acting as chief since the retirement in March of former chief Daryl Sehm. Jankowski was not included in the shortlist of candidates.

In an article about the city's vacancies, Buffalo News reporter Bill Brown wrote yesterday:

Complicating the issue is the idea of combining three departments — police, fire and public works — under one director.

A nine-member commission to review the city’s 50-year-old charter form of government began meeting in April. It could recommend restoring the mayor-council system replaced in 1956 with an administrator-council. It is also expected to review municipal operations and conceivably could suggest an overall director of the three departments.

UPDATE: City Council President Charlie Mallow said that the Buffalo News article is not quite accurate. The city would not consolidate all three departments. Rather, the two chief positions could be merged into a single "public safety officer" position, while the public works director would be merged with the assistant city manager post, which has already happened, for the most part. (See comment below)

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Charlie Mallow
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The story from the Buffalo News was a little inaccurate. The idea was to consolidate the positions of Fire and Police chief into a new position called a public safety officer. Another idea which we already have pretty much in affect is to consolidate the positions of Public Works director with our Assistant Managers position. There are changes that would be needed to our charter as well as research that would have to be done to create the office of public safety. Other communities have this type of position and we need to look into it to save long term costs. I have said many times that there is a looming crisis brewing with our retirement costs. Our short term problems are behind us but, a responsible government looks ahead. It is not possible to continue on without substantial changes to how this city operates. The money will either come from the taxpayers or we will solve the problem for good with consolidation and right sizing city hall.
Patrick D. Burk
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I wonder if the commission would come back with a Mayor's position in the City. It would be interesting to have that person responsible directly to the voters. Just a thought.
Howard B. Owens
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In a strong-city-manager form of government, which is common with small municipalities where elected officials serve part -time, isn't an elected mayor of a figure head? Does the title "mayor" convey any further authority or responsibility? Of course, having such a position also introduces some interesting dynamics to the political process and can help foster greater engagement and interest in local elections. There is something to be said for appearance.
John Roach
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In last years election, not one candidate was in favor of going back to a mayor, not one, when asked by the Daily News. A mayor would not save money and would just add another layer of politics to the city, something we do not need. This issue has been and will be again, discussed by the current Charter Commission. It should be noted this issue was also addressed at the Charter Review in 2000, and rejected.

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