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Por fin david rodriguez appointed corporation counsel

July 9, 2010

David Rodriguez, new Corporation Counsel

After serving for thirteen months as the City of Buffalo Corporation Counsel, on June 30, 2010, Mayor Brown finally appointed David Rodriguez to the post along with other appointments, including three commissioners none Hispanic two of them top cops and a newly  created post of parking commissioner.

Only one Puerto Rican  Alberto Delvalle was ever appointed  a commissioner in the history of the City of Buffalo under Mayor Anthony Masiello . Delvalle had a short tenure before terminated for reasons still nebulous.  Mayor Brown created a new Commissioner  of Parking position and appointed his political foe, Kevin Helfer who ran against him as a Republican mayoral candidate in 2005 .

The Buffalo News reported a consultant   recommended the Brown administration create the post, but comments from readers of the article asked what report and what consultant, believing it’s another cushy patronage job for  Mr. Helfer who is an NFTA Commissioner and former University District Council Member.  He was the Director of Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps since October 2004.

The top cop  appointment of Daniel Derenda as Buffalo Police Commissioner drew some criticism from some members of the community one of them Niagara District Council Member David Rivera, a retired detective from the police force commented  in a Don Esmonde column, ” he didn’t move up the ranks,” and “he never made it past the rank of sergeant,” Rivera said. “I have to wonder if there were some good candidates who moved up through the ranks.”

And Don Esmonde called the appointment a another Brown “crony.” And Artvoice criticized the Buffalo Police Swat team  presence with assault rifles, garnering over-time pay at the annual Gus Macker  Basketball Tournament held in downtown Buffalo last month.   Commissioner Charles H. Tomaszewski, is a retired Lt. Colonel from the military the political patronage system rewarding him as well. And Byron Lockwood is First Deputy Police Commissioner.

Artvoice reported the Common Council  sent   the new interim Police Commissioner Derenda  appointment to the Legislation Committee where it is vetted with opportunities for public testimony and  the nominee  questioned on Tuesday, July 13, at 2 in Council Chambers in City Hall.  There are concerns about his educational qualifications since Derenda only has a high school diploma and the City Charter prefers a college degree while his residency whether he resides in Buffalo or Clarence is another issue. He was a detective Sergeant in 2005 before appointed to the post he now holds Deputy Police Commissioner.

Certainly, appointing the Police commissioner is the prerogative of  Mayor Brown. Still, some  believe he should set an example and stay within the guidelines of the City Charter that encompasses policies the public helped to craft and it would have been beneficial if an appointee in this post had moved up through the ranks in the Buffalo Police Department passed a Sergeant. That Mr. Derenda allegedly is “tight” with Deputy Mayor Steven Casey  the source of the appointment appears to had influenced the Mayor.

Buffalo continues to be among the nation’s poorest cities, appointing those already drawing income or benefits from other jobs such as Helfer, a Commissioner of the NFTA with allegedly life-time health care benefits and Tomaszewski, collecting a pension from the military contributes to the problem. And, gauging the response and attitude of the Puerto Rican/Latino  and African-American communities the mood is a somber one many citizens concerned about the police presence in the minority communities the Gus Macker deployment of the Swat team attributed to Derenda  provides folks reasons to  seemingly worry about the future. Yet, Rocca Diina, the ex Police Commissioner   that former Mayor Anthony Masiello appointed  his tenure described as distinguishing itself ” by becoming one of the most corrupt and ineffective in the country.”

So  an African-American Mayor is following a political tradition white mayors established earlier emphasizing political cronyism over professionalism in the Buffalo Police Department.

Charles H. Tomaszewski, new Deputy Commissioner Operations

First Deputy Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood

Daniel Derenda, new Police Commissioner

Kevin Helfer, new Commissioner of Parking
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