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Seven seeking appointment as acting city comptroller

When the deadline expired Monday to apply for appointment as Buffalo's acting comptroller, the field of seven candidates represented a varity of backgrounds in banking, investment, law, education and industry.

Meanwhile, one of the most frequently mentioned potential candidates announced that she is not seeking the temporary appointment but is "seriously considering" running for a full term as comptroller in November.

Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Maria R. Whyte, D-Buffalo, said she feels an obligation to fulfill the balance of her term. Whyte added that she values her independence.

"Only the voters can decide if the individual seeking the post truly has the independence and the courage necessary to target waste, fraud and abuse" and perform other key functions, Whyte said in a letter filed with the Common Council.

The Council must decide whether it will appoint someone to fill the unexpired term of Andrew A. San-Filippo, who resigned as the city's fiscal watchdog to become a deputy state comptroller. Some lawmakers have said they believe the Council should take no action and allow Deputy City Comptroller Darby R. Fishkin to continue to run the department through the end of the year.

The most recent candidates to request appointment are Charles T. Houseknecht, who worked at two banks, and Leonard S. Krucenski, an automotive technology instructor.

Houseknecht's resume indicates that he formerly worked at M&T Bank as a financial staff auditor and at Citizens Bank as a retail sales and service representative. Earlier in his career, he spent seven years as a support manager at Walmart stores in Batavia. He said he has an MBA from the University at Buffalo.

Krucenski's resume indicates that he has been teaching automotive technology at Erie 1 BOCES since 1998 and has a master's degree in education from Buffalo State College. He said he received a certificate of advanced study in educational leadership, leading to a school district administrator certificate.

They joined five other candidates who filed letters during the past month seeking appointment to the $88,412-a-year post. The first person to apply was Darryl McPherson, the city's chief auditor and the former legal counsel to Buffalo's control board. Other applicants include Aaron B. Siegel, president and CEO of Franklin Asset Management, a downtown investment firm. Siegel sits on Buffalo's Parking Board and has indicated that he is seriously weighing running for a full four-year term as comptroller.

The other candidates are:

* Brian J. Doyle, who has worked as an industrial engineer, production supervisor and safety engineer. His resume states that his most recent job involved selling vehicles at an automobile dealership.

* Michael V. Hicks Jr., a Navy veteran with a bachelor's degree in human services/management. He has worked for more than 20 years as a mold-and-die-cast operator.

* Steven Higgins, a mortgage lending specialist who received an MBA from UB.

The Council has not disclosed atimeline for deciding whether to make an appointment.


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