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PANEL DELAYS PACT ON MANAGEMENT OF CENTER

Saying that some members had not had the opportunity to meet with the team put together by Niagara Falls Redevelopment to operate the Convention & Civic Center, the City Council Friday delayed action on a proposed new management agreement.

Had the vote been taken Friday, it appeared that the proposed contract would have been defeated as four Council members said they probably would have voted against it. Prior to the meeting, Frank Taibi, a member of the redevelopment group, said it wanted "full team support" from the Council.

A meeting was set for 4 p.m. Wednesday for the team to make a presentation to the full Council. The Council set a vote on the management contract for 3 p.m. Friday, just two days before the redevelopment group is slated to take over day-to-day operations at the convention center and four days before the annual Western New York boat show is set to open.

It was unclear how the delay will affect operations at the center. More than a half dozen redevelopment officials attended the meeting, but they declined to comment afterward.

Harry Cann, general manager of the convention center for SMG, the current management company, said SMG would continue to operate the center on the city's behalf as it has for 11 years.

"We as a company were looking for a resolution to this issue that has now dragged on for nine months," Cann said. "I guess we'll wait until next week."

He said this is the third extension Niagara Falls Redevelopment has obtained since it exercised its option to take over control of the center under its master redevelopment agreement with the city.

The 90-day period for the group to put its management team in place expired in August. The Jan. 31 date was set to to give the group time to put a plan together. It appeared at first that Niagara Falls Redevelopment would keep SMG on -- which is what some Council members hoped for -- but SMG officials said they never received a formal proposal from the group.

Councilwoman Barbara A. Geracitano and Councilmen John G. Accardo, Anthony F. Quaranto and Guy T. Sottile said they were prepared to reject the pact. Council Chairwoman Connie M. Lozinsky and Councilmen Vince V. Anello and Charles A. Walker would not say how they would have voted.

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