Buffalo and its German Community - Pages 23 & 24

Chapter 4

The Municipal and County Administration

The present form of Buffalo's administration consists of a mayor, the highest officer of the city; the Board of Aldermen and Councilmen, known as the Common Council; the law-giving body known as the City Court; and the various administrative departments for public works, police, fire, schools, finance, legislation, parks, markets, social welfare and others.

The Common Council consists of the Board of Aldermen and Councilmen. The Board of Aldermen is a body of 25 members. Each member represents one of the 27 wards into which the city is divided. Each ward elects its own alderman. The term of office is two years. The yearly salary is $1000. An alderman makes laws. The Board of Councilmen consists of nine members whose term of office is four years. Councilmen receive the same pay as aldermen. The Board of Councilmen can affirm, veto or amend the laws made by the Board of Aldermen but they cannot issue legislation.

The Mayor, the Commissioner for Municipal Services, the Corporations Council, the Comptroller, the Treasurer, the City Court Judge, the Assessor, the Superintendent for Education, and the Overseer of Social Services are elected by the citizens of the city. The City Clerk, the City Health Official, Council to the Police and Fire Departments, the School Examiner, the Commissioner of Civil Service and various other city officers are appointed. The City Clerk is appointed by the Common Council. The others are appointed by the Mayor.

The Mayor is elected for a four-year term of office at an annual salary of $5000. He has the right to hire a secretary for $2000 a year, a license clerk for $1500 a year, and a stenographer for $1000 a year. The Mayor is a member ex-officio of the police, park and social services departments. He has veto-power over all legislation enacted by the Council. Furthermore he appoints the Health Commissioner, the School Examiner, the Harbormaster, the Engineering Examiners, the Market Superintendent, the Examiner of Plumbers, and other, less significant city officers.

Under Buffalo's charter the mayor is the highest executive officer of the city and he is responsible for overseeing that the duties of city offices be conducted properly.

In case there is a vacancy in the Mayor's office, the president of the board becomes mayor. Louis P. Fuhrmann is the present mayor.

Following is a list of the Mayors of Buffalo since the city's establishment in 1832:
1832 - Ebenezer Johnson
1833 - Major A. Andrews
1834 - Ebenezer Johnson
1835 - Hiram Platt
1836 - Samuel Wilkeson
1837 - Josiah Trowbridge, M.D.
1838 - Ebenezer Walden
1839 - Hiram Platt
1840 - Sheldon Thompson
1841 - Isaac R. Harrington
1842 - George W. Clinton
1843 - Joseph G. Masten
1844 - William Ketchum

1845 - Joseph G. Masten
1846 - Solomon G. Haven
1847 - Elbridge G. Spaulding
1848 - Orlando Allen
1849 - Hiram Barton
1850 - Henry R. Smith
1851 - James Wadsworth
1852 - Hiram Barton
1853-55 - Eli Cook
1856-57 - Frederick P. Stevens
1858-59 - Timothy T. Lockwood
1860-61 - Franklin A. Alberger
1862-65 - William G. Fargo
1866-67 - Chandler F. Wells
1868-69 - William F. Rogers
1870-73 - Alexander Brush
1874-76 - Louis P. Dayton
1875-77 - Philip Becker
1878-79 - Solomon Scheu
1880-81 - Alexander Brush
1882 - Grover Cleveland
1883 - John B. Manning
1884-85 - Jonathon Scoville
1886-89 - Philip Becker
1890-94 - Charles F. Bishop
1895-97 - Edgar B. Jewett
1898-1901 - Conrad Diehl
1902-1905 - Erastus C. Knight
1906-1909 - James N. Adam
1910-1913 - Louis P. Fuhrmann

The city employs over 4500 people in various departments. The Police Department employs over 800 people and the Fire Department employs 600 men.

The area of the city is 42 square miles or 26,880 acres, of which 24,791 acres are land and 2,089 are water. Buffalo has 700 miles of streets of which close to 400 miles are paved.

Erie County was established in 1821. Today it consists of the following townships: Alden, Amherst, Aurora, Boston, Brant, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Clarence, Colden, Collins, Concord, East Hamburg, Eden, Elma, Evans, Grand Island, Hamburg, Holland, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Marilla, Newstead, North Collins, Sardinia, Tonawanda, Wales, and West Seneca.

Governance is accomplished by a Board of Supervisors, to which every Township and each ward of the city elects a representative.

Caption under picture reads Entrance to the Harbor

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised June 15, 2005