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Home > Leadership > Mayor > CitiStat Buffalo > Archive CitiStat Buffalo In The News > 2006 Archives > Tables Turned On CitiStat Member

Tables Turned On CitiStat Member

Copyright 2006 The Buffalo News

Buffalo News (New York)
Byline: By Brian Meyer - News Staff Reporter  

Buffalo's strategic planning chief has been building a small cult following on public access cable television for being a tough-as-nails inquisitor on the city's new accountability panel.

On almost a weekly basis, Timothy E. Wanamaker has scolded department heads for being unprepared, supplying sloppy data or failing to carry out assigned tasks.

But when Wanamaker's Office of Strategic Planning came under the CitiStat microscope for the first time Friday, the tables quickly turned. Mayor Byron W. Brown was upset when his planning guru filed to the podium without payroll data and other information that had been requested weeks earlier.

"Coming from you, Mr. Wanamaker, being one of the toughest members of the Citi-Stat panel, I'm absolutely shocked you don't have the data for the department," said Brown in a tone a school teacher might use to dress down a student.

Making it even more "embarrassing," Brown continued, is the fact that Wanamaker's office has been overseeing the CitiStat process.

"Can you explain what happened?" an incredulous mayor asked him.

While Wanamaker accepted full responsibility for flunking his first CitiStat test, he was quick to explain that two staffers didn't get the job done. He said if the individuals don't compile all the data by Nov. 1, they'll be looking for new jobs.

Human Resources Commissioner Leonard A. Matarese, another member of the accountability panel, noted that City Hall has an antiquated data-collection system that requires people to "jump through hoops" to retrieve basic personnel information.

First Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey interpreted Matarese's comments as being a defense for Wanamaker. Casey, wearing a polite smile, accused Matarese of "being soft" on Wanamaker because Matarese knows his office will soon be thrust under the CitiStat spotlight and hopes Wanamaker will extend the same soft treatment. Matarese seemed unfazed by the barb, continuing to hit hard on City Hall's inadequacies.

"We are really missing the boat on the technical resources that are out there," said Matarese, adding most departments don't even have the tools to make simple charts.

Wanamaker's Office of Strategic Planning oversees numerous programs, including housing and some economic development initiatives, environmental issues and programs financed with federal block grants.