above photo by Blanc Photographie: Comptroller Miller-Williams, seated center, is surrounded by family following her swearing in ceremony.
On Thursday, January 2 history was made as Barbara Miller-Williams was sworn in as the first African American and first Woman elected to serve as the Comptroller for the City of Buffalo. Supporters filled the Council Chambers where the ceremony, hosted by Dr. James A. Lewis III, took place.
“I want to express my heartfelt thank you to those who made this historical victory possible” said Miller-Williams who graciously thanked all her supporters.
“Today marks the formal opening of a new era. Our City of Buffalo has never witnessed having a comptroller of African American heritage,” she said to applause. “Has never had a woman in the position. I am proudly walking in the footsteps of 35 comptorllers. These gentlemen paved the way for me to continue to protect, report and strengthen the city’s finances and that’s what I intend to do.”
“As your newly elected City of Buffalo Comptroller…I’m going to be the best City of Buffalo Comptroller that you ever had….
“I believe that when God gives you the opportunity to be the first at anything it is important that you do the best that you can do.”
As the Comptroller, Miller-Williams has led the Department of Audit and Control since April 16, 2019. Since the appointment, she has released the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), approved the issuance of bond sales for capital projects, provided information concerning the City’s financial condition and performance in record time, filed a Fund Balance proposal with the Buffalo Common Council and conducted numerous informational sessions to key personnel. “As a result of my efforts several best practice methods were made available to all interested parties.”
The historic swearing in ceremony was in recognition of the renewed interest of citizens from all walks of life coming together to actively participate in city government.
The Comptroller’s granddaughter and daughter also took part in the ceremony, as did First Lady Kathy Bowman of Antioch Holiness Church who electrified the audience with a stirring acapella gospel rendition. Buffalo City Clerk Tianna M. Marks, also a “first,” administered the Official Oath of Office. Elder Elayne Foster gave the invocation and Rev. Al Warner gave the benediction. A reception followed.
“I appreciate the confidence bestowed upon me to faithfully serve as the Chief Financial Officer for the City of Buffalo.” Miller Williams stated. “As your Comptroller I will continue to be transparent and work with all branches of government to cohesively protect, report and strengthen the City’s finances.”