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Mayor Brown names Town of Tonawanda native Elizabeth A. Ball chief of staff

Elizabeth A. Ball, a Town of Tonawanda native who worked in Albany for the past 10 years – most recently as a top aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, is Mayor Byron W. Brown’s new chief of staff.

Ball, 41, replaces Steven M. Casey, Brown’s longtime top assistant and political adviser, who left City Hall last July to take a private-sector job heading up a West Seneca development firm.

“She’s been on my radar,” Brown said of Ball. “Betsey has a wealth of experience in government management at the local and state level, and she’s got extensive political management experience at the local, state and federal level.”

“I’ve had lots of wonderful opportunities across the state, working for a lot of people, but I’ve always considered Buffalo my home,” Ball said. “I’ve always wanted to come back. This is a wonderful opportunity.”

Ball since 2011 served as Cuomo’s legislative affairs director, a position that involved working on behalf of the Executive Chamber with state legislators as well as state agencies. Brown said he contacted Cuomo before offering Ball the city position.

Prior to joining Cuomo’s staff, Ball was chief of staff to State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, who currently heads the Senate Democratic conference.

Ball also worked in the Assembly, and the New York City Council.

Ball also served as campaign manager on Brown’s 2009 re-election campaign. She also has worked on campaigns for Stewart-Cousins, Cuomo, and the 2000 Gore/Lieberman and 2004 Kerry/Edwards presidential tickets.

As chief of staff, Ball also has a deputy mayor title. She will be responsible for overseeing day-to-day management of city operations, and also the city’s legislative agenda. Brown’s other deputy mayor, Ellen E. Grant, focuses on education, health care initiatives and diversity issues.

The deputy mayor positions carry $106,000 salaries that increase to $109,000 in July.

Ball’s predecessor ran City Hall departments with an iron fist, sometimes getting criticized for being overly political and commanding respect through fear. As chief of staff, Casey had the title of “first” deputy mayor. That title will no longer be used.

Ball’s appointment means Brown now has two female deputy mayors as well as a female finance commissioner. .

Ball graduated from the State University of New York at Albany, after graduating from Cardinal O’Hara High School in the Town of Tonawanda.

She is the sister of Buffalo Corporation Counsel Timothy A. Ball and the wife of Peter K. Cutler, Brown’s former communications director. Cutler left City Hall in March 2011 to join Elizabeth Ball in Albany. The two married in July 2010.

email: sschulman@buffnews.com