The Masiello administration created a $40,000-a-year job for the son of Assembly Speaker Arthur O. Eve in what critics call a political pay back that circumvents civil service rules.
Union officials claimed this week that the new job came about after Arthur O. Eve Jr. failed to score high enough on a civil service exam for his old job at the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.
At his new job, the younger Eve works for the Buffalo Enterprise Development Corp. But he does the same type of work and most of his salary comes from the BMHA, officials confirmed.
His hiring casts a bigger spotlight on the BEDC, already viewed by critics as one of Masiello's patronage havens. The agency's staff has doubled since the mayor took office, growing from 21 to more than 40 people.
Union officials are challenging Eve's new job and are prepared to argue in arbitration that the BMHA is contracting out work to the BEDC.
"I don't think it's fair," said John Scardino, president of the BMHA's white-collar union. "When the BMHA has exams for people and then gives the job to someone who failed, it creates bad morale."
Privately, Eve's new job at the BEDC is viewed by insiders as Masiello's attempt to reward one of his most prominent African-American supporters -- Arthur O. Eve Sr.
The BMHA is funding part of the younger Eve's new job and officials said he's doing "similar, but not exactly the same, type of work" he did at the authority.
At the BMHA, he worked as an employment and training coordinator, helping to recruit and screen public housing tenants for jobs. His new job at the BEDC will include those same duties, as well as the creation of new minority-owned firms.
Sharon West, executive director of the BMHA, said Eve's move to BEDC is part of a plan to work more closely on minority hiring issues.
She described Eve as a self-starter who was instrumental in developing the BMHA's program for minority hiring.
"Would I have hired him if he wasn't Art Eve's son? The answer is 'yes,' " she said.
Ms. West said she plans to fill Eve's old job at the BMHA, but Scardino said that may not be enough to stop the arbitration if Eve continues to do the same type of work as a non-union, non-civil service employee.
The Rev. Matthew Brown, vice president of BEDC, said Eve's job was created as part of an expansion of the agency's existing contract with the BMHA.
"This job was created without malice," Mr. Brown said. "There was no effort to circumvent any system."
Eve did not return telephone calls seeking his comment Friday.
The younger Eve has emerged in recent years as a political activist, serving as a Democratic committeeman in the Fillmore District. In May, he helped organize a fund raiser for Masiello that drew about 150 supporters.
Eve's father supported Masiello in his first race four years ago. This year, Eve remained neutral during the Democratic primary in what some Masiello backers saw as a slap in the face. Others noted that Eve could have easily backed the only black candidate for mayor -- Common Council President James W. Pitts.
Eve endorsed Masiello after last month's primary victory over Pitts and former Mayor James D. Griffin for the general election.