The City of Buffalo Common Council held its biennial reorganization meeting today, Tuesday, January 3, 2012 to elect its new leadership, amend its rules of order, and appoint new chairpersons to its committees.
The biennial Common Council meeting is held to reorganize the Council’s leadership structure and assign Council Members different roles and responsibilities. This year Lovejoy District Council Member Richard A. Fontana was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Council President, Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith was elected to serve as the Council Majority Leader, and University District Council Member Bonnie E. Russell was elected to serve as the Council President Pro Tempore. Each Council Member will serve in their new capacity for a term of two years while still maintaining their respective duties as District Common Council Members.

Lovejoy District Council Member and Council President Fontana said, “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.”

University District Council Member and President Pro Tempore Bonnie E. Russell said, “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.”
Following the leadership appointments, the Council amended its Rules of Order to include: reduction in the amount of full-time employees in District Council Offices to two people, resulting in savings from healthcare and pension costs; enhancement of the duties of the Council President Pro Tempore; and reduction in the salaries of Common Council Staff employees, saving City taxpayers more than $40,000.

Masten District Council Member and Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith said, “I look forward to further serving the constituents of the City of Buffalo.”
After the Council amended its Rules of Order, Council President Fontana appointed Council Members to the following regular and special Common Council Committees:
Regular Committees

Civil Service
Chair: Council Member Bonnie E. Russell
Members: Franczyk, Kearns, and Smith
Claims
Chair: Council Member David A. Rivera
Members: Golombek, LoCurto, and Russell
Finance
Chair: Council Member Michael P. Kearns
Members: LoCurto, Pridgen, Russell, and Smith
Community Development
Chair: Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr.
Members: LoCurto, Pridgen, Rivera, and Smith
Legislation
Chair: Council Member Darius G. Pridgen
Members: Franczyk, Golombek, Rivera, and Russell
Rules
Chair: Council Member Richard A. Fontana
Members: Russell and Smith

Special Committees

Budget
Chair: Council Member Demone A. Smith
Members: Golombek, Kearns, Pridgen, and Rivera
Education
Chair: Council Member Demone A. Smith
Members: Golombek, Kearns, and Pridgen
Minority Business Enterprise
Chair: Council Member Demone A. Smith
Members: Golombek, Rivera, and Russell
Police Oversight
Chair: Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr.
Members: Franczyk, Rivera, Russell
Transportation
Chair: Council Member Michael P. Kearns
Members: LoCurto, Rivera, and Russell
Waterfront Development
Chair: Council Member Michael P. Kearns
Members: Franczyk, Golombek, and Smith