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Smith gets key backing to fill seat on Council

County Legislator Demone A. Smith appears headed toward a seat on the Buffalo Common Council following his overwhelming endorsement on Saturday by the Masten District Democratic Committee.

Smith was nominated to fill the vacancy created by former Masten Council Member Antoine M. Thompson's election to the State Senate in November. The new senator seconded the nomination for Smith at the Saturday meeting following a motion by committee member Alonzo Barnes.

"We will use the experience received throughout the years, from an intern in the Masten District Council Office to Erie County legislator, to continue to improve the lives of fellow citizens to build stronger neighborhoods which will strengthen our beloved city," he said in accepting the nomination.

Leon M. Hicks, a legislative assistant to Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana, was also interested in the post, as were Mary J. Christ, Terrence A. Robinson and Lance Woods.

The Council will interview all candidates for the job, then hold a special meeting Friday, when it is expected Smith will be selected to fill the final year of Thompson's term.

Historically, Council members have honored the will of district committeemen when filling vacancies.

In November, voters approved a law requiring that new steps be taken before the Council fills a seat. The city must advertise the vacancy for at least five days on its Web site and public access television. The city also must accept resumes from candidates.

Smith makes the move to a Common Council seat that pays $52,000, almost $10,000 more than the Legislature. Terms are for four years, not two like the Legislature.


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