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City Hallways (Feb. 15): The man with the red socks

Lots of red ties on the all-male Buffalo Common Council Tuesday in recognition of Valentine's Day.

But one of the nine members seemed to take the holiday a little more to heart.

In addition to his red tie, this lawmaker wore red socks.

Can you guess whose red socks are in this picture?

Hint: He's from the University District.

Answer: Councilman Rasheed Wyatt.

They're still working on it at BFD

It was a year ago that the city comptroller's office issued an audit criticizing the Fire Department for not having better controls on money it takes in for such things as propane permits.

The auditors circled back a year later to see if their recommendations were enacted.

One of the seven recommendations was enacted.

The Fire Department no longer takes cash.

But other recommedations, such as establishing written policies and procedures when handling payments, and replacing a handwritten spreadsheet with an electronic one, were not done, according to Patrick Curry, a top aide to the city comptroller.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Johnathan T. Eaton was in Council Chambers Tuesday to respond to the audit report.

But Eaton only became a deputy in July, so he wasn't totally familiar with the audit. He said he just learned about it at 3 p.m. Monday, immediately began meeting with others to learn about the audit issues, and told the Council he would make sure all the issues raised are addressed.

"From this point on," he told the Council, "I'm assigning myself to the task, and I assure you they will get done."

Some Council members then began addressing the larger issue of how city offices handle money.

Council President Darius Pridgen suggested a uniform policy be implemented, requiring, for example, a code number be used whenever a register is opened, and that cameras be installed by all registers.

Curry said there are 15 different city sites where money is accepted.

Curry said a single policy would not work for all sites, because they have different functions, but he endorsed the idea of the Council, Comptroller's office, and Brown administration working together to develop and implement policies for handling money.

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