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Without representation, S. Buffalo grows restive; Unfilled after month, Council vacancy is sore point in district

Residents of South Buffalo have been without a representative on the Common Council for more than a month, and City Hall doesn't appear to be ready with a solution to their problem.

Not only do these residents not have someone at the table representing their neighborhoods in budget talks, they say, there's no one ready to help with day-to-day issues that arise.

"With any little problem you have, there's nobody to go to," said Lyn Crissy, president of the Olmsted Island Block Club.

Crissy said she and others will take to the steps of City Hall this morning to spread their message.

After a planned news conference, block club leaders and others will make their push into Council Chambers as lawmakers proceed with review of the proposed city budget.

The South District seat on the Council has been vacant since Michael P. Kearns won a March 20 special election for the Assembly.

The remaining eight members of the Council accepted resumes and conducted interviews, but there has been no political agreement that would put a successor in the post.

Eleven people submitted resumes for the post by April 5, but some failed to meet requirements, including residency and party affiliation. Six were interviewed by the Council on April 16.

Majority Leader Demone A. Smith, who represents the Masten District, said Monday that the Council would be accepting more resumes through 5 p.m. Friday, and two more applicants sought the appointment Wednesday.

Matthew Fisher, a former aide to Kearns, received the endorsement of Democratic Party committee members in the South District on April 14 but has not been able to get the fifth Council vote necessary for the appointment.

The others who were interviewed were Linda M. Bain, Bryan J. Bollman, Patrick B. Burke, Joseph M. Gartler III and Anthony "A.J." Verel.

Smith called Fisher, Bollman and Verel the three leading candidates after the interviews were conducted.

Since then, questions have arisen about whether Bollman meets the residency requirements, while a background check by The Buffalo News found that Verel spent two years in prison and was arrested twice for burglary.

Bain also emerged with some support, University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell previously said.

Two more people submitted paperwork for the post Wednesday.

James J. Creahan, a former border agent, and Kevin M. Lafferty, a detention officer, filed resumes with the City Clerk's Office.

Creahan, 61, retired from his job with the federal government in 2007 after a 33-year career, according to his letter to the Council. He has previously worked as an inspector at area border crossings for the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, according to his resume.

Most recently, Creahan had been acting deputy field officer director in the Department of Homeland Security, a post that covers all of New York State aside from the New York City area.

Lafferty, 31, works for Valley Metro Barbosa Group, a contractor for the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, which is an Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He is also a part-time bartender at the Buffalo Irish Center and a former parking enforcement officer for the city, according to his resume.

Lafferty has previously run for the city Board of Education.