I Will Not Step Aside.

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This December, I was thrilled to embark upon my appointment as Deputy Comptroller for the City of Buffalo.  A few weeks later, Mark Schroeder, the man who had served in the Comptroller role and appointed me received a call. He was being asked to a commissioner appointment in Albany. When he vacated the Comptroller seat, I unexpectedly became Acting Comptroller for the City of Buffalo.  

The City’s Common Council must now take up the task of appointing an interim Comptroller and they have 90 days to do it. This gives them to about the end of April.  I have submitted my name and resume for the Council’s consideration, but there are a number of others who are also seeking the appointment. The list seems to grow daily, including Councilmembers Fontana and Franczyk, County Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams, and Assistant Commissioner of Erie County Public Works, Jon Rivera.  

Many of the people considering this appointment bring a variety of talents to the roles they hold within our community.   But I’ll be honest: the host of men putting their names up for a consideration is kind of offensive. Before you judge me for that statement, let me explain.

When Mark resigned unexpectedly, I had to make a lot of decisions very quickly.   I gave up on the chance to spend a little more time with my new baby, Zuri, so that I could come to work.  I had to get childcare in place. I had to deal with a lactation nightmare, as I hadn’t had the time to store up extra milk before going back to work.  Everything that I had planned was thrown out the window, and I stepped up to adjust my plan.

Since starting my new job, I have been pouring over a half a billion dollar budget; reading through complex legal documents describing multi-million dollar bond deals; and working with my colleagues, as well as bond counsel, to discuss the intricacies of demolitions and tree plantings in relation to municipal finance.  

I have managed to do all this and more while pumping, handling sleepless nights with little to no help, and helping my oldest daughter with her math homework.

In short, I am already actively proving that I am more than capable of being Buffalo’s Chief Fiscal Officer.  So, when a gaggle of men step in to say they, instead, deserve the seat, I feel as if they are saying, “Step aside little lady; this is no place for you.”  More concerning, though, is that the talk of the town is that one of these men is who is likely to get the appointment, and, with it, the advantage in this year’s election.

It doesn’t matter that I’m a licensed as both a CPA and an attorney in the State of New York.  It doesn’t matter that I have over a decade of accounting experience. It doesn’t matter that in getting my J.D. and practicing law, I learned to research and write on complex financial and legal issues.  It also doesn’t matter that I am showing up every day, doing the work and doing it well. Seemingly, not when someone with political connections and male anatomy is standing up next to me.

The fact is that no other candidate in this race can bring what I am already bringing to the position; I’m also the most likely candidate to be independent from the Council and the Mayor’s administration, but professional enough to recognize that political potshots are not in Buffalo’s best interest.

Therefore, I plan to fight for my seat at the table.  Because I am absolutely good enough to be in the position I’m in, and I’ve earned with every sleepless night, every hour spent working and studying, and every sacrifice I’ve made to get where I am now.  So, no, I won’t sit down and shut up. I am standing up for every single woman who has ever been passed over as I stand up.

Sorry—I’m not sorry.