By Robert J. McCarthy, originally published in The Buffalo News on 6/27/16.

Buffalo attorney Kenneth Manning named to Peace Bridge Authority

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has appointed a prominent Buffalo lawyer and major Democratic fundraiser as a new member of the Peace Bridge Authority.

Kenneth A. Manning, a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP, will replace Philip J. Tantillo, according to the authority. He was confirmed June 17 by the State Senate, along with veteran board member Charles L. “Sam” Gurney III.

Manning is well known in local Democratic circles as a top fundraiser, personally contributing about $18,000 to almost exclusively Democratic causes since 2000, according to state Board of Elections records. Campaign finance reports also list a $5,000 contribution from Manning to Cuomo’s re-election fund in 2014, and he has helped raise many thousands of dollars more for other candidates through the years, especially within the legal community.

In recent years, Cuomo has appointed close associates to the binational board governing the Peace Bridge, such as Sam Hoyt, regional president of the Empire State Development Corp., and former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello. They have buttressed the governor’s efforts to spur development on the international span’s Buffalo plaza and proved crucial during a showdown with Canadian representatives to the authority over the pace of Buffalo plaza development three years ago.

Experienced in corporate and commercial litigation as well as education law, Manning has received the University at Buffalo School of Law’s distinguished alumnus award and other pro bono community service awards from the New York State Bar Association.

He also serves on the Roswell Park Cancer Institute board of directors, the University at Buffalo School of Law Dean’s Advisory Council and the Daemen College Community Advisory Board.

Gurney, also a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority commissioner, was reappointed to the board as representative of Sister Denise Roche, the new NFTA chairwoman. He was first appointed to the Peace Bridge Authority in October 2012 and is president of the Gurney, Becker & Bourne real estate firm.

Gurney is a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, sits on the Greater Buffalo Board of Real Estate and the City of Buffalo Preservation Board and is a longtime director of the SPCA Serving Erie County