More than an audit
A city comptroller's audit of Fire Department payroll operations does more than highlight some problems in the department's payroll unit. It also highlights the bad blood between the fire commissioner and fire union.
Union VP president Marty Barrett addressed the council earlier in the week to talk about the audit, which talks about overtime costs and practices in the Fire Headquarters payment unit, and says relatively little about Barrett's members, the firefighters. But Barrett used the session to bash Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.
"There is no management there," Barrett said. "He is diminishing the command structure. He is a poor leader. This is just another aspect of his mismangement."
The union, he said, is taking a vote of no-confidence in Whitfield next week.
"It will pass overwhelmingly," he said.
Commissioner Whitfield wasn't in Council Chambers when Barrett spoke, but arrived later. When I mentioned some of Barrett's comments, including of the upcoming no-confidence vote, Whitfield seemed aware of what was planned. He seems unfazed by it.
He also said the union leader doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to the comptroller's audit. Barrett doesn't know what the people working in Fire Headquarters are hired to do, Whitfield said.
The commissioner told me he's trying to to create a more modern, and more efficient Fire Department. Some union leaders don't like that, he said.
Bar dancers take to Twitter
I'm pretty sure my post yesterday on the dance floor at Allen St. Hardware Cafe being shut down was my most re-tweeted post ever. Here's some of the tweets I got:
@sue_schulman Kevin bacon can solve this dancing ban
— Steven (@Steve31619) February 24, 2016
Buffalo, slowly morphing into the town from Footloose. https://t.co/YLdPO0twAq
— Ryan Taughrin (@ryantaughrin) February 24, 2016
"Dance permit"? This is absurd: https://t.co/Z5tslT8eXL
— Luke Hammill (@lucashammill) February 24, 2016
— Michael Benzin (@DevelopingMike) February 24, 2016
— reuben feffer (@DML_28) February 24, 2016
— Damon Vinson (@DemarrDivine) February 24, 2016
By the way, I'm a bit beyond the age to be dancing at the Hardware Cafe, so I asked some younger folks in City Hall and at The Buffalo News what the big deal is. The Hardware Cafe, I was told, is the best dancing place around, with a bit cooler and older crowd than you'll find at Chippewa. You go to Hardware, I was told by a few different people, when you don't want to run into people celebrating their 21st birthday learning how to drink on Chippewa. I was also told that Hardware Cafe's had dancing for years in its front room, but that it was last summer, when a back room previously used for private parties was turned into a dance floor, that things began to pick-up.
Laurie's Gifts & Treasures, 1983 S. Park, requesting license to sell new and used household items.
Bottom's Up, 69 W. Chippewa, requesting permission to have St. Paddy's Day Party for the underage crowd from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. March 17.