Veronica Nichols slams Mayor Brown on SUNY appointment

Veronica Nichols, the community activist who challenged Assemblywoman Crystal People Stokes in a tree way primary contest last year, is calling out Mayor Byron Brown. Brown’s surprise appointment to the SUNY board of trustees is a conflict of interest, she points out.

Many have speculated that Brown’s appointment to that board was orchestrated by Peoples-Stokes, who is looking to land a lucrative job at the University at Buffalo. It comes weeks after Catherine Collins was placed on the state’s board of regents, replacing longtime regent Bob Bennett — at Peoples-Stokes’ behest.

She published the following statement in the Buffalo News:

Mayor’s appointment poses possible conflicts of interest

So Mayor Byron Brown is a real education expert now, what with proposed legislation to give him control over the Buffalo Public Schools and an appointment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a SUNY trustee. Community concerns regarding both are not insignificant, but the SUNY trustee appointment is especially troubling because of the potential conflicts of interest between the statewide mission and a mayor dependent on particular local non-academic interests, such as building construction.

As the governing body of the State University of New York that exercises all of its corporate powers, the board of trustees plays an important role in the $1 billion SUNY Research Foundation and the State University Construction Fund. From the view of the Fruit Belt, it looks like whatever SUNY says, the mayor jumps, even if that jumping stomps residents whom the mayor supposedly represents.

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols

Founder, Fruit Belt/McCarley

Gardens Housing Task Force, Buffalo

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