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How did Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana's move to replace David A. Franczyk as Buffalo Common Council president start? It started with South Council Member Michael P. Kearns, according to Fontana, who said Kearns told him he wouldn't be supporting Franczyk when the Council reorganizes next month. A few weeks ago, Fontana said he was exploring a bid for the top…

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Updated: 2:38 p.m.; 4:09 p.m. -- with comments from Demone Smith.; 6:58 p.m. -- links to documents involving claim of "illegal meeting." The Common Council's majority leader said today he has the necessary votes to make him the next Council president, a move that forms a new majority in the lawmaking body that some view as more friendly to Mayor Byron W. B…

Chris Jacobs says he's created a committee to help choose a new first deputy county clerk. Jacobs, a Republican who campaigned on a no-patronage job promise, announced Tuesday he is accepting resumes for his top deputy clerk. The job of first deputy clerk, which is responsible for many of the day-to-day operations in the Erie County Clerk's Office, is currently f…

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(photo by Harry Scull Jr. / Buffalo News file photo) The City of Buffalo's website could use a little sunshine, according to an advocacy group's review. The city tied Albany for the worst level of transparency among websites for six cities in the state, the Sunshine Review found. Buffalo's website lacked information, including meeting minutes, meeting schedu…

   In yet another signal sent by Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan to his intra-party foes in Albany, more than 500 people gathered at the Creekside Banquet Center in Cheektowaga Thursday night to raise funds for his party organization.    Lenihan pronounced the event a huge success, raking in about $45,000 for the Erie County Democrati…

   Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney continues to garner support from New York State's GOP establishment, announcing Friday the endorsement of 24 members of the Assembly.    Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua led the initiative, which included Jane Corwin of Clarence, Joseph Giglio of Gowanda, Stephen Hawley of Batavia, a…

WASHINGTON -- Beaten up by Republicans for taking a $2,500 campaign contribution from Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey governor who presided over the MF Global securities firm as it sank into bankruptcy, Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul Thursday donated that money to the Daemen College Center for Veteran and Veteran Family Services. Hochul's action came after the National Re…

ALBANY -– The regional council funding breakdowns are in. Four winners in the competition to share $140 million of the $200 million regional council funding are: Western New York, Central New York, the North Country and Long Island. When parts of another $786 million pot of cash, tax breaks and other incentives are included, everyone comes away with dollars. As expected. T…

ALBANY – It’s a full-scale production. Video, darkened theater, speeches and more speeches, and even a media celebrity to headline the presentation: CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. But still no decision on which four regions will be selected to receive the major share of a $200 million pot of economic development funds. “This was a competitive process,’’ said Bruce Katz, a member …

ALBANY -- This is what happens when lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists are standing around the Capitol hallways all day waiting for bills to emerge on the big tax hike-and-cut deal: the bill-naming game. In this case, one of the best to emerge so far on the tax package: Jerry's Law. As in Jerry Jennings, the Albany mayor who stood up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and refus…

The city's state-appointed control board this afternoon approved a nine-year contract for the city school district's white-collar union. Read more about the deal in Mary Pasciak's story from last month when the Buffalo School Board approved it. --Aaron BeseckerFollow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

ALBANY – After more than a year of insisting they’d take part in no effort to raise taxes, Senate Republicans were jumping on board this morning with a plan to bring in more than $2.5 billion in income tax levies by taxing rich people in New York. “For 99.8 percent of New Yorkers, this is a great deal,’’ Sen. Thomas Libous, the deputy majority leader, s…

ALBANY - Say you are a lawmaker -- or even a member of the public -- and you want to see the actual tax package agreement affecting millions of New Yorkers or maybe even some of the details on a plan to spend $1 billion on infrastructure projects. And let's say in less than an hour both houses are scheduled to gavel into special session to begin ta…

   Assemblyman Mark J.F. Schroeder says all the plans he made to accommodate the 2,000 people he invited to his ceremonial swearing-in Wednesday night as Buffalo comptoller are subject to "Murphy's Law -- if anything can go wrong, it will.   Schroeder called en route to Albany Wednesday morning to explain the special session of the L…