New city comptroller John Liu takes his job seriously — so seriously in fact that he requires his staffers to rise from their chairs when he enters the room and refer to him as "Mr. Comptroller." Liu introduced the mandatory formalities in meetings last week, and they already have "veteran denizens of the Municipal Building snickering behind his back," according to the Post.

"I am making the adjustment myself. I'm used to calling him J.L.," said his press secretary, Sharon Lee. "This is universal, for people who have known him for years or people who are meeting him for the first time." Lee said the rules aren't an official policy and that she tells staffers to sit down and refer to their boss as John after the initial formal greeting. Liu was known as "John" when he was a councilman, "John is the same John, and he hasn't changed," she added. "At the same time, we want to address the office with the seriousness it demands."

Apparently, the formalities are a big reversal from former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who urged staffers to call him "Billy," and former city and state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. "Alan would do just the opposite. If someone called him Mr. Comptroller, [he would say,] 'What is this Mr. Comptroller s- - -? Call me Alan.' That went for maintenance people as well as deputies," an aide said.