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Brown to be inaugurated Dec. 31

Byron W. Brown will take the oath of office as Buffalo's 58th mayor on Dec. 31 in a ceremony at the Buffalo Convention Center, spokesman Steven M. Casey said Friday.

In what is planned as a festive celebration reflecting the city's diversity, the mayor-elect opted for a New Year's Eve ceremony rather than one on the official first day of his term, Jan. 1, Casey said.

The administration of outgoing Mayor Anthony M. Masiello has cooperated fully, he said, and the 9 a.m. event will allow sizable contingents from Albany and New York to return home for New Year's celebrations.

The new mayor will then greet well-wishers at a reception in his City Hall office at 11 a.m.

"We wanted to open up the lobby and the mayor's office so people can then come over right after the ceremony," Casey said.

It has not been determined who will administer the oath of office to Brown, but planners hope that several groups and officials will be able to take part.

Casey said he expects the Rev. Michael Chapman, pastor of Brown's St. John Baptist Church, to have a role, as will Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

He said the mayor's address will probably last about 15 minutes, and groups ranging from Irish dancers to choral groups from the Buffalo Public Schools are expected to participate.

"We're going to try and incorporate everybody," he said.

The Brown event will depart from Masiello's first inaugural in 1993, which took place outside on the steps of City Hall. Casey said planners decided they could not rely on the weather and chose the Convention Center.

He also said Brown's transition team hopes to hold an inaugural gala, probably on Jan. 28.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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