BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Calling it “one of the finest academic institutions in the country,” Mayor Byron Brown on Friday encouraged students seeking higher education to attend Buffalo State University. Amid months of speculation around the school’s vacant presidency, however, Brown remained coy as to whether he is under consideration to join them.

Asked by WIVB News 4’s Jacquie Walker during Brown’s monthly “Ask the Mayor” appearance, Brown issued a fresh denial to the whispers that have dogged his administration for months.

The five-term mayor said he had not been in communication with Buffalo State regarding the position within the last month, before hailing the SUNY institution’s academic prowess.

“Any student pursuing higher education should consider Buffalo State University,” Brown said.

In October, Buffalo State said it would not announce the names of presidential candidates 48 hours before each visit, as the university originally planned, “to protect the professionals we are engaging.”

Brown joined WIVB days after the City of Buffalo released its annual snow plan, to the criticism of some Buffalo Common Council members who said after last year’s historic blizzard, the city should have moved up its usual snow plan timeline. Council members have suggested the plan should be released annually on April 1 going forward.

Brown said he is open to releasing the snow plan earlier in the year, but April 1 is too soon.

“I think something like September 1 might be a good time period,” Brown said. “We’re just coming off the snow season (April 1) and it doesn’t give the proper amount of time for the planning that I think is needed to prepare the snow plan properly.”

Brown said with winter weather fast approaching, plans to equip and staff the city’s nine warming shelters are underway. Brown committed to having them ready “by this time next month” and said he hopes to have every emergency shelter set up by the middle of November.

“Obviously our hope is that we don’t get blizzard conditions again this year, but right now, we are in the process of getting everything equipped that we need to have in place for an extreme weather situation,” Brown said.

Brown said after the Blizzard of ’22, the city has upped communication with Erie County and the state and he is confident they will be able to effectively cooperate to keep the city and the region safe. He said his contact with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is up for reelection Tuesday, is “good,” and that he supports Poloncarz in his race against Republican Chrissy Casilio.

You can watch the full 10-minute Ask the Mayor interview in the video player above.

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Justin McMullen is a Western New York native who joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more of his work here.