Skip to main content

Rosemary Christian

Christians resignation from City Council became formal today

By Press Release

Press release:

The City of Batavia will hold a gathering for the Honorable Rose Mary Christian on Monday November 22, 2021 in the Council Chamber beginning at 5:30 P.M.  All citizens and well-wishers are invited to attend.  The gathering will be followed by a City Council meeting where proclamations will be presented to Councilwoman Christian honoring her for her years of service.  Light refreshments will be served. 

Councilwoman Christian announced her resignation from City Council on November 15, 2021.  She is resigning the seat because she is moving out of the sixth ward. 

“After serving the residents of the City of Batavia as the sixth Ward Council Member for over 29 years I cannot thank the residents enough for their support.  Their commitment to the City of Batavia and prosperity to the neighborhood has remained steadfast.  It is with a very heavy heart that I resign my seat, but I feel confident that I have worked each day to make the lives of residents in Batavia better.  I wish my fellow Council Members well in their pursuit of good government and improving Batavia,” said Christian, City of Batavia Councilwoman- sixth ward.  

Councilwoman Christian has served as the sixth ward representative since 1992.  She has always been accessible to her constituents and Batavia citizens citywide. 

“I wish Councilwoman Christian the very best in her retirement from City Council.  She has been a staunch advocate of neighborhood initiatives and bringing resources into the sixth ward.  On behalf of all of the City Council Members I wish her the very best in the coming years,” said Eugene Jankowski, City of Batavia, City Council President.

Council Member Christian is a true public servant, performing honorable advocacy for the residents and community of Batavia and those who live in her Ward,” said Genesee County Legislator Rochelle Stein.  I commend Rose Mary Christian on her 30 plus years of elections, hard-won city initiatives over the years, and compassion for her voters in this much-beloved City of Batavia.  Best wishes for a full, healthy, and fun retirement.  Her continuity of knowledge shall be missed, yet surely she will stay engaged on City issues.  Well Done Rose Mary Christian, Well Done.

“Rose Mary Christian has been a good neighbor and exemplary public servant throughout her nearly 30-year career. She’s been steadfastly dedicated to making Batavia the best place to live and work it can be. While I wish her well in the next chapter of her life and career, she will be sorely missed by those she represented, who will remember her as a fierce advocate for working Batavians,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley. 

Christian calls for state audit of 400 Towers

By Howard B. Owens

The recent death under questionable circumstances of a 91-year-old resident along with a series of complaints from tenants of 400 Towers has prompted Councilwoman Rosemary Christian to contact NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and request an audit of the senior housing complex, which is operated by the Batavia Housing Authority.

A spokesman for the comptroller's office said it's not unusual for the office to receive requests for audits from public officials and it is a factor in deciding audit priorities. 

Public housing complexes in New York do fall under the office's jurisdiction to audit, said Brian Butry.

He couldn't comment at this time, of course, on whether or when there might be an audit of 400 Towers.

"There seems to be a lot of problems and complaints from the residents there," Christian said in her e-mail to DiNapoli. "I have heard from many people who live there and they aren't very happy there."

Earlier this month a man was found dead on the roof of 400 Towers. It appears that the man, who may have suffered from mild dementia, wandered in the middle of the night from his apartment and onto the roof. A magnetic lock on the door leading to the roof may not have been operating correctly at the time, make it easier for the man to access the roof, but then he was unable to find his way back into the building.

Yesterday evening, Christian, along with Kyle Couchman, who had been hired by the deceased gentleman's family to help provide day care for the man, addressed a meeting of the housing authority board and said they would like answers to why certain things are taking place at 400 Towers.

Concerns include:

  • A resident other residents seem to fear wanders freely and may have access to other residents' apartments;
  • There have been a few thefts from apartments and there are concerns that somebody has a master key, or that there are too many master keys floating around; Christian would like to know why the locks haven't been changed;
  • Why residents are not allowed to sit in the lobby for more than 30 minutes at a time and face fines if they violate the rule; Couchman said his client had been written up for such a violation and he found that disturbing and also suggested the rule violated existing leases;
  • Christian wonders why a resident in a wheelchair was fined $45 after his wheelchair hit a metal door frame;
  • Residents have been fined when the tires of their cars are on the yellow lines of parking spaces;
  • Fine money must be paid separate from rent checks, and Christian wonders where the money goes and what it's spent on;
  • Christian expressed concern that applicants for apartments are interviewed at the window in the lobby instead of a private room to protect their privacy.

Christian also raised these issues in her e-mail to DiNapoli.

While housing authority board members are appointed by City Manager Jason Molino, the city's involvement with the housing authority pretty much ends there. The authority operates independently of the city.  

Following the remarks by Christian and Couchman at Thursday's meeting, the board said it would not be discussing the questions or concerns at that meeting.

Rosemary Christian casts lone vote against Masse Gateway Project funding

By Howard B. Owens

At tonight's special council meeting, there wasn't too much debate about the three resolutions authorizing the city to apply for RestoreNY funding to spur development of the Masse Gateway Project, but there was tussle over individual council members should be contacting state agencies and possibly subverting the will of the council.

Prior to the vote, council member Rosemary Christian asked a series of questions and made statements that indicated she had been in contact with RestoreNY officials, possibly suggesting the city should not pursue the grant.

Marianne Clattenburg raised a point of order, asking whether it was appropriate for individual council members to contact state agencies about pending council business.

City Attorney George Van Nest said such conduct was inconsistent with City Council rules and the city charter.

When Clattenburg raised an objection to council members making such contact, Christian interrupted and said that she would make such contact if she thought it was necessary.

At that point, City Council President Charlie Mallow handed out a copy the council rules.

"It says council members can't act as individual members," Mallow said.

Council member Kathy Briggs asked a clarifying question: Can a council member ask purely information questions of another agency, without expressing any views? Van Nest said yes.

It's unclear whether Christian contacted RestoreNY on a purely information basis or conveyed information that could run counter to the council vote.

Speaking of the vote, all three resolutions passed with only Christian voting no and Council member Bob Bialkowski abstaining because of a potential conflict of interest.

After the meeting, property owner Tom Mancuso said: "I"m very grateful that the council saw this as a worthwhile project support and now I hope the state will agree."


UPDATE: Joanne Beck posted her coverage tonight, as well.

UPDATE: Dan Fischer at WBTA posted a bit of the conflict on audio. Listen here.

Cox and Christian raising questions about proposed Masse Gateway Project

By Howard B. Owens

Council members Bill Cox and Rosemary Christian tell Joanne Beck they're representing the concerns of their constituents in raising a long-list of questions about the proposed Masse Gateway Project.

A hearing on the project -- a prerequisite to the city apply for a state grant to help fund development -- is scheduled for tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Both Christian and Cox recently sent a list of questions to City Manager Jason Molino to get answers about the project. In his letter to Molino, Cox said that "private contractors and developers in the city have also raised the concern that often with Genesee County Economic Development Center projects no competitive bidding is done and local contractors frequently do not even get invited to bid, which would create local jobs using local people," he said. "Collectively all of these citizens and local businesses have raised some valid points which need some answers and explanations before we vote on the application and hopefully before the public hearing."

Neither councilman has anything against the principal Masse Place property owner, Tom Mancuso or Mancuso Business Development, they said. But both have gotten calls from residents and are trying to represent those concerns

The list of questions, which Beck includes, should serve as good fodder for the hearing tomorrow night. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: This afternoon I e-mailed City Council President Charlie Mallow for his comments on the Daily article and here is his response:

Questions are always good if your goal is to help move the city forward and avoid mistakes. That is a Council person’s job.

In the end our residents need real jobs and a turnaround in our local business climate. It is easy to oppose solution after solution; it is very hard to create alternatives. Batavia is stagnant because of the failure to reignite our central corridor and years of ineffective political leadership on this issue. There is this idea that doing nothing is seen as a better alternative than taking any action. Real leaders take point; they don’t throw rocks from the rear.  

Thoughts on the Council-From a Citizen

By Daniel Jones

Over the past few months, I have seen the actions that this Council has taken, and unfortunately, that some council members have tried to overturn, the actions being consolidation and its relation to Batavia's long term fiscal health, the preserving of our great cultural heritage and who an increased tax burden would hurt the most. Unfortunately, Bill Cox, Bob Bialkowski and Sam Barone have been obstructionists to the general progress that this Council is trying to create Batavia.

Firstly, I am a very proud Batavian, I have lived here for almost 20 years now, which is almost my entire life. I have been blessed to live in this area, an area rich with educational opportunities due to excellent schools, great youth programs and, most importantly, people of compassion and responsibility, thats what I believe Batavia's greatest asset is, its people. However, I believe that all of that has come under attack by an overriding objection to change, this objection being irrational and irresponsible at its core, the change being consolidation. Although it is true I was originally opposed to consolidation, I believe that Batavia would not be able to survive if we didn't make large scale to changes to the way that we operate our government, unfortunately that meant making tough choices. Those tough choices lead to the accepting of a grant that would consolidate our dispatch services. I still don't believe in a perfect world that we would have to consolidate those services, however, the very fabric of our fiscal health and the maintenance of our cultural heritage was at risk. So we did what needed to be done in order to make sure that we can continue to operate in the short term and not have a large amount of debt in the long term.

On the same note, the council worked hard to make other tough budgetary decisions this year, these decisions reduced an increase in the tax levy from roughly 24 percent to roughly 8 percent. Those may be just numbers to some, to others its the difference between paying for their medicine or for their groceries. In the end, its the struggling middle and lower-middle class that ends up stomaching such a large tax burden. In the long run, the consolation is the difference between having years of saddled debt upon the City for future generations or having a fiscally clear future.

Unfortunately, some, such as Mr. Barone, Mr. Cox and Mr. Bialkowski have taken it upon themselves to reverse those decisions to create a culture of political mudslinging to overtake council, as was seen tonight by the attempt to remove the City Attorney from proceedings of meetings (which costs roughly 1600 dollars per year), it has also been seen by the attempts to cut out small and already agreed upon expenditures, such as the cutting out of 500 dollars in order to cancel parades and other events. It appears that it is the goal of certain councilmen to simply grandstand and make a large issue out of very small expenditures for their own political benefit, instead of working hard to make the lives of Batavians better and preserve our great cultural heritage.

My question to Mr. Cox, Mr. Bialkowski and Mr. Barone is simple, what offends you about us?

Why do you, Mr. Cox, Mr. Bialkowski and Mr. Barone find working people so offensive? As to not leave us, the middle and lower class, a bit of relief on our tax or rent bill in the short run and fiscal health in the long run.

Why do you, Mr. Cox, Mr. Bialkowski and Mr. Barone find young people so offensive? As to not leave us a city that is in good fiscal health, wanting us to pay off the debts of your proposed recklessness 20 years from now.

This Council worked very well and hard and across party lines to make a budget that addresses the needs of the hard working middle class people of Batavia and by consolidating provided a better long term fiscal situation for the young. I give all due credit to those council members, Mr. Mallow, Ms. Briggs, Ms. Clattenberg, Ms. Christian, Mr. Buckley and Mr. Ferrando, they are making Batavia a better place to live for all.

Perhaps some other council members, such as Mr. Cox, Mr. Bialkowski and Mr. Barone should stop paying lip service to the taxpayers and renters they swear to protect and start actually working for them instead of making a political show out of the City Council.

Authentically Local