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Acting city engineer going to UB

For the third time in less than a year, Buffalo's Public Works Department is losing one of its top administrators.

Acting City Engineer Paul J. Gareis will leave his post next week for a position at the University at Buffalo. Gareis will become assistant director for facilities, planning and design.

The new post will pay $85,000, a $13,000 increase from his current job. Gareis said the challenge of working for the university at a time when major capital investments are planned was too attractive to pass up.

"He's going to missed, that's for sure," acting Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak told Common Council members Wednesday.

Gareis is an 11-year veteran of the department and previously served as principal engineer.

His departure and the exits of two other public works officials have resulted in the department's losing 70 years of collective experience.

Acting Public Works Commissioner Daniel E. Kreuz was fired this summer after he admitted he took gratuities from city vendors and failed to report them on his incomes taxes. The offenses occurred before Mayor Byron W. Brown took office.

Longtime Public Works Commissioner Joseph N. Giambra retired 11 months ago. He was later implicated in the gratuities scandal and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges that he accepted trips from companies that did business with the city.

The Brown administration is currently looking for individuals to serve as public works commissioner and engineer. However, Buffalo officials said uncompetitive salaries are making it difficult to attract some prime candidates.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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