BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The first meeting of the Stadium Community Inclusion Task Force was held Tuesday night at the Leroy R. Coles, Jr. Branch Library. That meeting was cut short, ending before it really even got started.
Following a prayer and roll call, the first meeting of the new stadium community task force was adjourned.
Eight of the 11 task force members were there Monday evening — many of whom were not pleased that news crews were in attendance with the public.
The group was spearheaded by Erie County District 2 Legislator April Baskin. Its goal is to ensure minority and veteran-owned businesses have the opportunity to earn contracts in the construction of the new Buffalo Bills stadium.
An aide for Baskin told us the committee was not comfortable moving forward with the news media in attendance.
“The Legislature has not yet received the minutes from tonight’s inaugural meeting of the New Stadium Community Inclusion Task Force. However, I have heard it had a cautious start,” Baskin said in a statement. “Newly formed committees often need some time for the members to get to know each other before conducting official business.”
Harvey Washington is the executive director of Empire State Legacy Builders. He was hoping to learn more about getting involved in the construction of the stadium in Orchard Park.
“I would like to provide project management, I would like to provide trucking if I could,” said Washington. “And with that contract, it would fund the equipment needed, not only to handle this major construction project. But maybe even others with the 33 expressway or something else coming down the line.”
“I don’t know how many disabled veterans there are in the county, but I sure would like to see some of them working on this stadium project,” added disabled veteran Leon Colucci. “And I would hope that your committee publicizes what goes on and what’s gonna go on.”
Several agenda items were not addressed Monday night.
Those included electing a chairman and drafting letters to the Bills as well as a construction company requesting an update on minority businesses employed on the project.
The final agenda item included the review of a draft proposal on best practices to include small businesses in the development phase of the stadium.
News 4 gave the opportunity to the committee members in attendance to go on the record, but they declined.
Legislator Baskin was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, but said in her statement that she would encourage the committee to increase transparency.
“I encourage the Task Force to work diligently with each other, and set transparent policies for their public meetings that will enable them to work productively,” Baskin said. “I look forward to the outcome of their hard work, and thank them for their service.”