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Council revives MWBE panel, names Rivera majority leader

The Buffalo Common Council on Tuesday sent a number of workforce development items to a revived Minority and Women Business Enterprise Committee that was re-established by lawmakers a month ago.

Council President Darius G. Pridgen said a previous incarnation of the committee had been inactive for nearly a decade. However, he said, as the city experiences an economic turnaround, a vehicle is needed to ensure that minority and women business enterprises benefit, as well.

Pridgen re-established the committee and appointed University Council Member Rasheed Wyatt as the Council’s representative, with Janique Curry – Erie County Medical Center MWBE coordinator – as its citizen chairwoman. The panel held its first meeting last week.

Pridgen said the panel would be looking at a multitude of issues as it deals with how to better inform and engage the minority- and women-owned business community in projects across the city.

He added that there are concerns “that as Buffalo rises, there needs to be a great effort to ensure that all boats that want to rise are able to rise with it. So this is an important committee.”

Meanwhile, the Council on Tuesday also voted unanimously to appoint Niagara Council Member David A. Rivera to serve as its majority leader, the first Hispanic to hold the post.

Rivera replaces former Masten Council Member and Majority Leader Demone A. Smith, who resigned two weeks ago to head the Buffalo Employment & Training Center.

Rivera stepped down from his former position as president pro tem of the Council, and South District Council Member Christopher P. Scanlon was unanimously appointed by the Council to that position.

Rivera said his unanimous appointment shows the Council’s commitment to diversity

“It shows those kids that are out there from different cultures, different nationalities, that you can aspire to be a leader in the Common Council leadership in the City of Buffalo,” Rivera said.