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Rodriguez still interim corporation counsel? Latino appointments in the Brown administration.

August 19, 2011

The Buffalo News reported  today another scandal is developing in the Human Resources Department in City Hall and it mentioned Interim Corporation Counsel David Rodriguez filing charges.

That got me thinking, Rodriguez is still an interim appointment? He’s been in the post for nearly two and a half years appointed after former Corporation Counsel Alisa Lukasiewicz resigned on May 22, 2009. And the next day,  Mayor Byron W. Brown appointed Senior Deputy Corporation Counsel David Rodriguez as Acting Corporation Counsel. Brown initially announced the appointment of Rodriguez on December  2006.

However, all hell broke loose last year  in the Buffalo Common Council when Mayor Brown attempted to appoint Rodriguez permanently as City Corporation Counsel. Why? For one thing, Rodriguez tried to run for a committeemen position simultaneously as Niagara District Councilman David Rivera sought the same political opportunity.

And there were other issues the Common Council held against him such as he sided with the Brown administration when it dragged its feet about providing timely information on the search for a new police commissioner, as well as, information about the political fiasco of disgraced former  Councilman Brian Davis.

Yet it seemed everybody in City Hall from the deputy mayor to finance commissioner had run for committeemen seats last fall during primary week. Even Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey and his wife Pamela both won committee seats. So why did it become a problem for Rodriguez, and a  major reason for the Council squabbling about appointing him Corporation Counsel last year?

As the senior deputy corporation counsel Mayor Brown continued him as the Interim City Corporation Counsel indefinitely but for how much longer is he going to continue serving as interim? And as the configuration of the Common Council might change this year  will he go before the Council again?

And some Latino leaders in the Puerto Rican community continue to ask about Latino presence in the Brown administration such as how many has he appointed since elected Mayor of the City of Buffalo on November 2005. It wasn’t until one year later that he appointed Rodriguez to senior corporation counsel on December 2006, appointing City Court Judge Betty Calvo-Torres on June 2007, later elected to the position on November.

The highest ranking Puerto Rican in the Brown administration is Oswaldo Mestre, Jr. Director of the Division of Citizen Services, formerly worked in the Weed and Feed program.  He appeared in the City of Buffalo website as part of the Mayor’s senior staff composed of 13, seven whites and six Blacks.

While Latinos across the country celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning this month in Buffalo in a poll last year  the viewers of this blog overwhelmingly voted they wanted Mayor Brown to appoint more Latinos to policy-making positions.

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