One of the Common Council’s newest members Friday said he has the unanimous backing of the city’s eight other lawmakers to become the next Council president.
Council Member Darius G. Pridgen of the Ellicott District confirmed he has been lining up votes from the nine-member body to secure the leadership position Jan. 2 when it holds a reorganization meeting and vote.
“I reached out to my colleagues to ask them if they’ll support me,” he said. “I think the city is in a good position right now, and I want to be a part of the continued growth of the city.”
Council presidents are elected by a majority of the lawmakers, serve two-year terms and appoint colleagues to committees.
Pridgen would replace Richard A. Fontana of the Lovejoy District, who has been president for the previous two years.
“Mr. Fontana said if I have the majority of votes he would stay a part of the team and would support me,” Pridgen said.
A call to Fontana’s office late Friday was not immediately returned.
Pridgen is the pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, a former member of the Buffalo Board of Education, Air Force veteran and has worked for the U.S. Postal Service.
He began serving on the Council in 2011 and is chairman of the Legislation Committee.
“I believe that the education and experience that I bring to the table will continue to enhance the positive and forward movement of our city,” he said.
“That’s really an important aspect of why I’d like to be the Council president.”
Pridgen could be in a strong position to become the next mayor when Byron W. Brown, who last month was re-elected to a third term, leaves office.
“My desire to be Council president has absolutely nothing to do with the possibility of filling the mayor’s shoes,” he said.
“The reason that I desire to be Council president is to concentrate on Council business, advancing what I have championed from the beginning,” he explained.