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SMITH PLANS TO QUIT POST WITH CITY APPOINTED TO DIRECT BOYS, GIRLS CLUBS

City Human Resources Commissioner Michael V. Smith is expected to announce today that he will resign from the post to become executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo.

Mayor Masiello and Gerald Kelly, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs board of directors, were scheduled to hold a joint news conference late today regarding Smith's move.

Smith's appointment, effective May 1, was approved by the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs on Monday, officials said.

Masiello tapped Smith 14 months ago to head the city's Human Resources Department. The post pays $59,768 annually. Smith has been responsible for coordinating an array of human services offered by the city, including drug treatment, job training and youth services.

At his confirmation hearing before the Common Council, Smith stressed his desire to improve services for the city's disadvantaged young people, saying they were the key to moving the city on the road to social and economic stability.

Today, Smith said he believes he can accomplish that more effectively as executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs.

"The Boys and Girls Clubs will give me an opportunity to work in five different neighborhoods, where I can begin to implement culturally sensitive programming and projects that begin to address the specific needs of our young people," Smith said.

"If their needs are not addressed, it takes away from the quality of life for everyone in the city," he added.

Smith, who served 10 years as the executive director of the Food Bank of Western New York prior to his city appointment, had worked previously in government. He was executive director of the city's community development organization and was project manager of the Human Resources Department. He also was an assistant director of the city's Division for Youth.

Smith said he experienced no impediments working in government, but said he believes he will be able to increase his effectiveness working for a private, non-profit organization.

"The difference between a private company and a governmental bureaucracy is the difference between a sports car and a tractor trailer," he said.

"A sports car can go from zero to 60 in seconds, and stops and turns on a dime. Like a tractor trailer, it takes government awhile to begin to get things accomplished," said Smith.

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