Timothy Tielman, one of Buffalo's most vocal historic preservation advocates, is being replaced on the city Preservation Board he's served on for the past decade.
His replacement, Ruth D. Bryant, a former assistant dean for human resources at the University at Buffalo's School of Architecture and Planning, was approved Tuesday by the Common Council at the request of Council President Darius G. Pridgen. The change is effective with Thursday's Preservation Board meeting, Pridgen said.
Tielman said he was contacted by Pridgen after Tuesday's Council vote and told that he was being replaced. The move was not a surprise, he said.
Tielman, who has been on the board since at least 2007, was one of several holdover members. What is believed to be his second three-year term expired more than four years ago, but he was never replaced, enabling him to remain on the board.
Board members cannot, under city law, be appointed for more than two consecutive terms.
Tielman said Pridgen told him several years ago that he was hoping to diversify the board.
"Since that conversation several years ago, I imagined I'd be replaced," Tielman said.
Tielman's replacement lives in the Ellicott District, which Pridgen represents.
Her appointment required the Council to change the existing city ordinance on Preservation Board appointments. The law previously restricted appointments to the board by the Council president to individuals who live, work or own property in a historic district.
Pridgen on Tuesday introduced an ordinance amendment that allows appointments by the Council president to be chosen from the city at large. The measure was adopted by the Council.
Pridgen said he wants appointments to come from diverse neighborhoods. When first announcing Bryant's appointment, Pridgen said she would be the only African-American on the Preservation Board, but later said she would be the only African-American woman on the board. Terrance Robinson, a current board member, also is African-American. The board has nine current members.
Pridgen hasn't always seen eye-to-eye with Tielman on preservation issues, sometimes arguing that Tielman pushed to preserve buildings that neighborhood residents didn't want saved.
In recent months, for example, Pridgen opposed the Preservation Board's attempt to give historic landmark status to two buildings in his district - the Crosby building complex on William and Pratt streets as well as the Bachelor Apartments building on Franklin. The Bachelor apartments have since been demolished.
But Pridgen said after Tuesday's meeting that he is grateful for Tielman's years of service on the board.
Pridgen also endorsed recent efforts by the Preservation Board to give historic landmark status to a set of buildings on Sycamore Street as well as a High Street neighborhood in the city's Fruit Belt. At Pridgen's request, the Council approved local landmark status for both at Tuesday's Council's meeting.
"That's good news," Tielman said of the Council votes.
Pridgen said he is reviewing all city boards, and hopes to replace all Council president appointees who are now in holdover status. There are two other holdovers appointees on the Preservation Board, board Chairman Paul McDonnell and board Vice Chairman Eric Lander.
Bryant will be a strong addition to the Preservation Board, Pridgen said, adding: "We welcome her to the board."
Bryant, who received a business degree from UB, worked eight years in the School of Education before becoming assistant dean in the School of Architecture and Planning in 1982. She remained in the job until retiring in 2009.
As assistant dean, Bryant said, she filled a human resources role, working with students and faculty. While not an architect herself, the exposure she got by working in the School of Archtitecture gave her a great appreciation for historic preservation and architecture, she said. She attended lectures and met many noted architects and historic preservationists, she said.
"You have such historic structures in this town, such history," she said. "It's oozing with all this history and knowledge."
Bryant is also former chairperson of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, and currently serves on the board of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as well as the Communities of Giving Legacy Initiative.
Tielman was initially appointed by Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk, when Franczyk was Council president from 2003 through 2011. Franczyk said he recalls having appointed Tielman to two three-year terms.
When Tielman's second term expired, Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana was Council president. Fontana allowed Tielman to remain as a holdover board member, which is the position Tielman remained in when Pridgen became Council president in 2014, and up until Tuesday's vote.
Tielman is executive director of the Campaign for Greater Buffalo, a historic preservation organization. He said he will continue advocating for historic preservation in that role, as he did before joining the city Preservation Board.
"I will continue as I did before being appointed, working vigorously for historic preservation in Buffalo," he said.
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