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City Hallways (March 9) The Gospel of Matthew

"The first should be last, and the last should be first."

There are three ministers on  the Common Council,  but it  was the banker - University Councilman Rasheed  Wyatt - who quoted the Bible Tuesday during a discussion on housing for the poor.

Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority officials  were in Council Chambers making a case  for the city to help the BMHA out with  a $250,000 contribution toward  one of its cash-starved developments.  The conversation  at one point turned to the federal government's  housing policy, which has been pivoting lately toward using the private sector to help finance and even operate housing for the poor.

"I am concerned about privatization," Wyatt said. "These folks are looking at bottom lines,  not  looking to help poor folks."

"It seems poor people are always put  last --  'Wait until we get to a better situation,  and we'll get back to you,'" Wyatt said the poor are being told, then added: "I don't want to see these folks last."

"The Bible says, 'The first should be last," Wyatt continued, with BMHA executive Dawn Sanders-Garrett joining in to finish his sentence, "and the last should be first."

For those wondering, the three ministers on the Council are Council  President Darius Pridgen, Niagara Councilman David Rivera and Masten Councilman  Ulysees Wingo.

What's up at Fire Headquarters?

While I was talking recently  to fire union  president Tom Barrett about Local 282's no-confidence-vote in the fire commissioner,  the conversation at one point turned to Jill Parisi. She is the suspended payroll administrator accused of improperly manipulating her own Social Security/FICA payroll deductions.

Barrett says he doesn't really know Parisi personally, but professionally, he said, she does a great job handling payroll as well as other firefighter personnel records.  "She did a ton of work," he said.  Barrett said he thinks Parisi is innocent of the  charges against her.

"There's no  way she would do that," Barrett said. "I  think she was set  up."

Another fire union official, vice-president Marty Barrett (not related to Tom), recently told the Common Council that  the city can tell what password was used to get into a payroll account, but doesn't have the ability to determine which computer was used. Several people had Parisi's log-in information, according to Tom Barrett.

Meanwhile,  City Hall was asked to look into whether another of the civilian Headquarters staff  really lives in Buffalo as she claims, or if she actually lives in the suburbs, and uses another family member's Buffalo address on  paperwork to  comply with her residency requirement.

Mascia Update

Attorneys for and against suspended BMHA tenant commissioner Joe Mascia were scheduled to submit final briefs to a hearing officer Wednesday  morning, marking a last step before  the  hearing officer decides  if she thinks Mascia should be kicked off the board.

The  two tenant commissioner BMHA seats  are  up this  year. If Mascia  gets tossed off  the board, he won't be able to seek re-election. The other current tenant-elected commissioner,  Yvonne Martinez,  isn't expected to seek  re-election.

Calendar Items

Buffalo begins spring cleanup of its parks today.

Control board meets this afternoon.

Mayor Brown is holding a community roundtable discussion on the topic: Where should the city spend its federal dollars? Meeting 6 p.m.  at Hutch-Tech High School  on South Elmwood.

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