BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s Common Council is looking for answers when it comes to the city’s winter storm preparedness.
Four councilmembers — Mitch Nowakowski, Bryan Bollman, Rasheed N.C. Wyatt and David Rivera — sent a letter to Mayor Byron Brown and other city officials titled, “Where are we at?”
In the letter, the members wrote, “Over the past several months, we have made multiple requests for updates on various items related to emergency services and snow preparedness. Regrettably, despite providing ample time for a response, our inquiries remain unanswered.”
“We want to make sure that we’re prepared in terms of equipment, manpower, coordination, inter-department coordination, coordination with other municipalities and levels of government, equipment, manpower — you name it,” Rivera said. “We want to make sure we have everything in place.”
One of their concerns is the hiring status of an emergency manager and fleet manager; two positions the council approved in February.
“I think it’s fair to say that we began this dialogue and even the passage and the allotment of some of these funds for these positions in February,” Nowakowski said. “We’re now in September. Where are we at?”
The mayor said the interview process for both candidates is ongoing.
“We are going to extend the search. We want more resumes to come in, we want to be able to see and interview more people,” Brown said. “We want to make sure we have people with top flight credentials and experience.”
The councilmembers also said they were hoping to receive the annual Department of Public Works snow preparedness plan earlier than the Nov. 1 due date mandated by city charter.
“We are on track to present that plan to the council, at least by November first,” Brown said. “But the rules that govern the operation of city government say the snow plan is due by November first.”
Nowakowski said this could give the council the push they need to create an amendment moving that date up.
“No one ever got a bad grade for turning an assignment in early,” Nowakowski said. “So I know that there is a legislative change that we do need to do in our own code to move up that time in the city charter for when the plan is due.”
The city recently created an Emergency Taskforce made up of people from the city, county and state. In the letter, the councilmembers write, “We are eager to learn how these members were chosen, if meetings have taken place, and when they will address the Council on their progress and initiatives.”
The mayor said the group has met twice, and that a third meeting will take place in the coming weeks.
The councilmembers ended their letter requesting a response from the administration at the Civil Service Committee meeting, which is set for the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 26.