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Council OKs pay hike for agency chief

The head of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority appears to be in line for an 18 percent raise.

The Buffalo Common Council this week approved an increase in salary for Dawn E. Sanders, the authority's executive director.

The Council officially approved a raise of up to $125,000, but the authority and Sanders have negotiated a final salary of $120,000, Majority Leader Demone A. Smith said.

However, Housing Authority Commissioner Joseph A. Mascia said no final salary figure has been approved by the authority's board.

"We didn't make an offer," said Mascia, noting that the authority board only approved a salary range for its personnel committee to negotiate within.

Members of the authority's board of directors had been seeking permission from city lawmakers to negotiate a raise of up to $125,000, or about 27 percent.

The Council voted, 7-1, to approve the salary increase, with Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk casting the sole vote against the measure.

There was no discussion of the measure during the Council meeting.

Franczyk has previously said he would not vote for any raise until he believes there is a satisfactory resolution to grievances of residents about shoddy maintenance and other problems at the Marine Drive Apartments, an authority-managed property.

Mascia questioned why an approval for the salary range was requested from the Council. He said city lawmakers should only have been consulted once a final figure was negotiated.

Sanders had been making $98,230 and had not received a salary increase since April 2009, authority Chairman Michael A. Seaman told The Buffalo News in late March.

She started with the authority in 2007.

"We believe we made an investment in Dawn Sanders when we hired her," authority Chairman Michael A. Seaman said in late March when the proposal came to light. Seaman could not be reached to comment.

The authority is responsible for managing 27 housing developments in the city and has a $58 million budget and a current payroll of about 265 employees.