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New Broadway Market manager is a former senior IRA employee

A former senior manager for the Internal Revenue Service will soon head efforts to engineer a turnaround at the struggling Broadway Market.

Thomas A. Kerr will be paid $65,000 over the next year to run the city-owned market. He becomes the market's first permanent manager since last fall, when its executive director quit and a nonprofit management board dissolved following a dispute with the city over the market's performance.

The Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. is expected to finalize Kerr's hiring within 10 days, said agency interim President Dennis M. Penman.

Kerr, a Buffalo native, spent 21 years as an IRS senior manager and has an extensive background in property management. During his career with the IRS, he also worked with community groups to create coalitions that provided assistance to low- and moderate-income residents.

Most recently, Kerr was president of Great Lakes Electronic Distributing, a local computer technology company.

The Amherst resident said he has many ideas for revitalizing the market and will detail strategies after he discusses them with community leaders. He said one long-term priority must be to broaden the market's base of regular shoppers.

Martin Biniasz, the chairman of the Broadway Market task force, said he's not concerned about Kerr's lack of experience in food retailing. Biniasz sat on the hiring committee that interviewed eight candidates after reviewing about 60 resumes. He said Kerr's diverse experience should bode well for an institution that is in dire need of restructuring.

In other agency action, the board formalized the August firing of Michelle M. Barron as vice president for neighborhood economic development. Barron played a key role in the financing and management of the failed One Sunset restaurant and bar. She was dismissed for "significant violations of personnel policies," agency officials said.

Penman would not divulge details about Barron's termination, including benefits or compensation she received. Penman called it a "private personnel matter."

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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