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A three-member advisory panel was formed today to help Buffalo teachers and school district officials complete a contract settlement before the new school year begins.

Wade J. Newhouse, former dean of the University at Buffalo Law School, was named to lead the panel created by the New York State Public Employment Relations Board.

The other two members are William A. Nowlin of Pittsford, an associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology's Graduate School, and Thomas N. Rinaldo of Williamsville, a partner in the Buffalo law firm of Scinta, Rinaldo & Dee.

"We were looking for people with a demonstrated reputation as mediators and arbitrators and who are highly regarded in the Buffalo labor-relations community," said Richard A. Curreri, PERB director of conciliation.

Newhouse could not be reached to comment.

The creation of a special impasse panel was first announced by Curreri on June 15.

The move averted a job action by the district's 3,900 teachers over the final days of the school term.

Curreri said the panel will have the authority to make recommendations for a settlement but will not have the power to force an agreement through binding arbitration.

"They have broad authority to help effectuate a settlement, including the power to hold hearings and make necessary inquiries," he said.

The teachers' contract expires Saturday, and Curreri said it's unlikely the settlement will occur by then. He said he's hopeful an agreement can be completed before the school year begins this fall.

Curreri said the panelists were chosen from outside the Buffalo school district to avoid a conflict of interest.

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