geoff kelly

The Brown administration will likely be watching closely as Congress debates a proposed aid package that would send $375 billion to boost local governments that are struggling with the financial strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal would send $1 billion to Buffalo. Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post expects the Republican-controlled Senate to reject the plan. Kelly reports the city budget faces a massive shortfall without the funding. 


It's a failed connection that is happening at the worst time for 5,500 students in the Buffalo school district. Scheduled to have been operational in January, a project called "Connected Communities" could have provided WiFi access to students dealing with the demands of distance learning as schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.3 million plan is far behind schedule and, as Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post reports, the company charged with installing the system is also facing other troubles.

While the dangers of lead poisoning have been understood for decades, getting local officials to acknowledge the presence of the problem in this community has been slow in coming. After years of Investigative Post bringing light to the issue, local governments are responding. As Geoff Kelly reports, first, Erie County established a program. Now, the city of Buffalo has its own pilot program and the early results indicate an urgent need. In January, the program's first month, Kelly says officials inspected 68 residences. Seven of those units displayed evidence of potential lead exposure.


The Buffalo Common Council has approved a $4.5 million settlement to Wilson Morales, who was 17-years-old when he was shot by a Buffalo police officer. Eight years after the incident, Morales remains in a wheelchair, paralyzed by the bullet. Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post says the injury settlement would not have occurred without some dogged investigative work by the plaintiff's attorneys.


Over the last two decades, eight different politicians have held the seat in New York's 60th Senate district. As Geoff Kelly points out, Republicans and Democrats have struggled to stay in the seat, though some have used the post to jump to other offices. Byron Brown was the senator before turning his sights on Buffalo's City Hall. Now, Chris Jacobs is leaving the senate as he seeks a spot in Washington as the congressman for New York's 27th District. Kelly speculates on who will next serve a district where a moderate approach to politics seems necessary.


The city of Buffalo has exhausted most of its cash reserves following years of using the extra funds to cover budget gaps. That problem, says Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post, will be compounded by New York State's $6 billion budget deficit. As Kelly points out, with the state unable to rescue future Buffalo budgets, the city may be forced to lean on taxpayers.


Joseph Gramaglia is Buffalo's Deputy Police Commissioner, the department's second-in-command. He is also the "officer in charge" of the Village of Blasdell police department. According to Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post, most observers say Gramaglia does a fine job in both roles. In fact, it's not unusual for Buffalo police personnel to have second jobs. But Kelly raises the question: Should high-level officials of New York's second-largest police department have their attention diverted toward second jobs?


While the move may be saving money in the short term, the city of Buffalo's limited spending on police cars may have a long-term negative impact. At one point this summer, Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post says, some police districts were working with less than half their allotted vehicles because so many were in need of repair. Without available transportation, many officers have been forced to remain at the station while detectives are unable to efficiently pursue investigations.

When the city of Buffalo recently found itself with a cash flow deficit, officials were able to cover the gap by using funds from the Buffalo Public School District. Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post adds this to a growing list of questionable budget practices, notably the use of cash reserves to cover previous budget deficits.

When Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the city's budget for the approaching fiscal year, much of the discussion centered on a lower property tax rate and the ambitious set of goals outlined in the $508 million spending plan. After reviewing the proposal, Geoff Kelly of Investigative Post has raised several questions about some projected revenues. At the top of the list:  $11 million in casino revenue from the Seneca Nation of Indians, a funding line that is unlikely to be realized anytime soon.


Stacked in news stands across Western New York are two weekly publications with gigantic centerpiece art and intriguing cultural content. One is new to the party, while the other has been around for more than 25 years.


A new weekly publication will soon be on the streets of Buffalo and Western New York. Former Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly has put together a core staff of seven writers, designers and sales representatives in creating "The Public."

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

Local political aspirants and incumbents are preparing for fall balloting.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

The Buffalo News has endorsed a trio of candidates for the Buffalo School Board elections Tuesday. Those endorsements have angered a segment of the public, and for some have emphasized racial divides in the city. On today's Press Pass, WBFO's Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly will discuss those endorsements.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

The recent passing of Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. has raised serious questions in regard to the status of the existing stadium, just as $130 million in renovations are underway for next season.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

County Legislator Lynn Marinelli stepped down from her post in January, but no progress has been made in filling that seat.

WBFO News file photo / WBFO News

This year's local elections will feature at least a pair of hotly contested races.

WBFO News photo / WBFO News

The year's end brings an anticipated new look for 2014. Among the rumored moves are possible new directions for Mayor Byron Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins.

WBFO News photo / WBFO News

Byron Brown will soon begin his third term as Buffalo's mayor and questions are already being asked about whether he will seek a fourth term or if a new face will grace City Hall.

WBFO News file photo

This year's race for City Hall could be heating up in coming days. There is also a new battle brewing inside City Hall. Those are the topics on WBFO'S Press Pass conversation with Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly.