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Politics and government of Buffalo, New York facts for kids

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See also: List of mayors of Buffalo, New York
McKinley Monument, Buffalo, NY - IMG 3702
Buffalo City Hall, with McKinley Monument in the foreground.

Buffalo, New York's government is run by a democratically elected mayor and council of nine members.

City departments

As of October 2015 the Buffalo city government was led by:

Department Commissioner Title Notes
Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs Donna Estrich Commissioner of Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs
Assessment and Taxation Department Martin F. Kennedy Commissioner, Department of Assessment and Taxation
Audit & Control Mark J. F. Schroeder Buffalo City Comptroller
Board of Education James Sampson
Theresa Harris-Tigg
Jason M. McCarthy
Sharon Belton-Cottman
Patti Bowers Pierce
Mary Ruth Kapsiak
Carl Paladino
Larry Quinn
Barbara Seals Nevergold
Ameer Dunston
Vice President of Student Achievement
Vice President of Executive Affairs

Student Board Member
West District Representative
East District Representative
North District Representative
Ferry District Representative
Central District Representative
Park District Representative
Buffalo Arts Commission Catherine Gillespie
David Granville
Donald J. Siuta
James Cooper
Thomas Chestnut
Kathleen Rooney
Susana Tejada
Joanna Angie
Gerald Mead
James Pappas
Catherine Linder Spencer
Ted Pietrzak
Elisabeth Clarkson

Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Mayoral Appointee
Common Council Appointee
Common Council Appointee
Common Council Appointee
Common Council Appointee
Common Council Appointee
Honorary Commissioner
Buffalo Police Department Daniel Derenda Commissioner
Buffalo Sewer Authority For the 28th year in a row GFOA issues Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Buffalo Sewer Authority.
Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) Byron W. Brown
Darius Pridgen
Christopher P. Scanlon
Brendan Mehaffy
Timothy Ball
Donna Estrich
Joseph Golombek, Jr.
Dominick Bonifacio
Council President
E.D. of the City's Strategic Planning
Corporation Counsel
Commissioner of Administration & Finance
North District Councilmember

Buffalo Water Authority Oluwole McFoy
William Sunderlin
Gerald E. Kelly
Michael Finn
Vice Chairperson
Board Member
Board Member
Citizen Services Oswaldo Mestre Director of Citizen Services
Office of City Clerk Gerald Chwalinski Department Head
Civil Service
Commission on Citizens' Rights and Community Relations Crystal J. Rodriguez
Kenneth Simmons
Sherrill W. Colston
John Calvin Davis
Dana Floriano
David Granville
Sheila Wallace
Gary Wilson
Zaw Win
Department Head
Interim Chairperson
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Board Member
Community Services and Recreational Programming Otis Barker Deputy Commissioner
Emergency Management Services Garnell W. Whitfield, Jr. Commissioner
Buffalo Fire Department Garnell W. Whitfield, Jr. Commissioner
Human Resources Gladys Herndon-Hill Commissioner
Law Department Timothy A. Ball Corporation Counsel
Management Information Systems Kenneth M. Barnes Chief Information Officer
Office of Senior Services
Office of Strategic Planning Brendan R. Mehaffy Executive Director
Parking Department Kevin Helfer Commissioner
Permit and Inspection Services James Comerford, Jr. Commissioner
Public Works, Parks & Streets Steven Stepniak Commissioner
Real Estate Christie Nelson Director of Real Estate
Telecommunications, Utilities and Franchises T. Tarapacki


Buffalo has a rich, and infamous, history with presidential politics. Two presidents hail from Buffalo: Millard Fillmore (13th President) and Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President).

In 1910, the city had a Common Council and a Board of Alderman. The alderman were elected from 25 wards to form the Board of Alderman. The board had 23 committees. The Common Council consisted of 8 elected councilors. In addition to the mayor, the voters elected the following executive branch officials, corporate counsel, superintendent of education, overseer of poor, commissioner of public works, the comptroller, treasurer and the three assessor of the Board of Assessors. The comptroller and treasurer were both members of the Board of Finance. The mayor appointed the members of the boards of fire commissioners (of which the mayor is a member), police, school examiners, jubilee water commissioner, pluming and water commissioners and the board of trustees for the Grosvernor Library and the commissioners on the civil service and playground commissions. The mayor also appointed the health commissioner, superintendent of markets, examiner of street engines, inspector of steam boilers, harbor master and oil inspector. The board of health consisted of the mayor, health commissioner and commissioner of public works. Along with his two mayoral appointed directors, the mayor, superintendent of education and another official serves as directors of public library. The city had seven all ex offico boards on which the mayor served on all but the back tax commission, which consisted of the comptroller, counsel and an assessor.

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