We published Issue 59 on Tuesday, June 27. We told you of problems with the design done by Tara Armas. By Thursday afternoon, June 29, the Design Department's drafting stools were being moved out of 90 Church St. We were ready to applaud NYCHA, as exchanging the stools for regular office chairs seems like a smart move.
Well, once we started thinking that NYCHA was doing the "smart" thing, we should have heard bells ringing!
Turns out that the tall stools, which were made to compliment the high drafting tables, were NOT being shipped back as useless. Instead, NYCHA's having the chairs customized. The stools will be given different bases so that they will no longer tower over the more typical NYCHA computer desks.
Moral of the story: When there is an easy AND right way of doing something, like ordering the proper furniture, NYCHA will usually opt for a more expensive and/or time-consuming manner of reaching the goal!
(More on this in a future issue)
We also received more information on the items we highlighted in Issue 59. Due to size considerations inherent in a faxed publication, we'll address only Item #2 in this issue. Future issues will contain the expanded stories on the other highlighted items.
Item #2: Deborah Oliver's saga is far from at an end. According to her friends, she is still waiting for NYCHA to pay the differential that the arbiter awarded.
There is another facet of this story, one that we wish we knew about sooner. It is actually good news about someone in a Supervisory position at NYCHA. We hear that Deborah's boss, Frank Rogers, stuck up for her at the hearing before the arbiter. Moreover, we hear that Mr. Rogers, an Administrative Architect (M-2), had been trying FOR YEARS to get NYCHA to give Deborah the title that covered the computer work she was actually performing on a daily basis. Deborah waited 3 years while Frank tried in vain; then Deborah filed the grievance. So, our hat's off to Frank and our fingers are crossed for Deborah. But NYCHA isn't tipping its collective hat to Frank.
Instead, it sure looks as if he is being punished for sticking up for his employee. (We also heard that Mr. Rogers complained about the design and space allocations at 90 Church St., but if NYCHA picks on everyone who thinks 90 Church St. is a horror, only JoAnna Aniello will be left in that building!)
(Barbie Ballinger and Congressman John Sweeney)
Congressman John Sweeney is a Republican Representative who serves the Counties of Columbia, Greene, Warren, Washington, Part of Dutchess, Part of Rensselaer, Part of Essex, Part of Saratoga & Part of Schoharie. John is a native of Troy, NY, and his father was president of a local shirt-cutters union.
Rep. Sweeney was appointed to the Republican Steering Committee, also known as the Committee on Committees, by his fellow freshman congressional representatives to appoint Members of Congress to posts on the House of Representatives' 21 committees. He also sits on the House Banking Committee, Small Business Committee, the Ground Transportation Committee and is Vice-Chairman of the Aviation Sub-Committee. He first gained media attention when he earlier served as the NYS Commissioner of Labor.
We have been so busy with NYCHA foibles that we neglected to thank Congressman John Sweeney for his kind invitation to a "Housing & Economic Development Forum" put together by the Congressman, The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and the Catskill Savings Bank.
(Click Here to visit the Congressman's site)
The conference took place on April 26, 2000 at the Greene County Courthouse in Catskill, New York.
The Forum was targeted at much smaller communities than the one covered by NYCHA, so much of the information, while fascinating, was of little help in giving insights into addressing the problems hatched on the 9th Floor of 250 Broadway. But, it was a very well put together means of informing local business people of the governmental and private opportunities available for Public Housing for Senior Citizens.
After Congressman Sweeney's opening remarks, Alfred DelliBovi, President and CEO of the Federal Home Bank of NY, Spoke to the attendees. As a past Deputy Secretary of HUD and a former 4 term member of the NYS Assembly, Mr. DelliBovi has earned national recognition as an authority on banking, the lending industry, and housing and public finance. He helped make some of the more bureaucratic language found in government and finance documents a little more user friendly.
HUD programs and a presentation by the Catskill Mountain Housing Development Corporation followed Mr. DelliBovi's remarks. As the Public Housing Spotlight was the only media listed as an invitee to the event, we want to thank Congressman Sweeney.
Those of us who attended were treated to an enjoyable and informative forum.
We received these notes since Issue 59 (minor editing has been done to help preserve the anonymity of sources.):
"Gregory Kern is starting to shake with the loss of his college buddy Paul Graziano, Kern is not often out of office these days, and when he is he looks very nervous. You can usually tell when he is going to blow. It resembles a psychotic episode.
He starts clenching his hands, his eyes rolls and he starts slamming his fist on his desk. One day he went off so bad he broke the glass on his desk with his fist! He had his Assistant-Director Ed Glassman, who makes big bucks, carry out the broken glass. Kern was heard saying "Don't ask how this happened just carry this to the freight elevator."
So, I guess Glassman is technically a high paid caretaker for leased housing. He also does all the arranging of the decentralization moves. Setting up the phones, computers and whatever else needs to be put into place is usually his domain.
Does the authority really need a high paid caretaker to do that? (His status, however, is belied by the fact that he has to use a cardboard box as a door to his office for privacy!)"
"Kern came to leased housing to decentralize the department. He has made such a mess out of it, nobody can find tenant folders and cases are being lost or never make it to the new locations. And Kern himself still does not know how to do a Section 8 rental or even know how to read a screen on the location for Section 8.
There are now numerous vacancies that can't be filled because nobody wants to work for Section 8 and many have transferred out. Parness is only concerned with keeping Finkel's Friends happy with Section 8 funding.
If instead of Williamsburg and Boro Park, Finkel's landlord friends lived in New Jersey or on Long Island, the employees working in Section 8 just might get their phones to work beyond the 5 boroughs. For now, we still have folks using their own cell phones to conduct Authority business.
Speaking about Finkel's Friends, even after the Spotlight reported on the private religious services that Finkel has organized on a daily basis (in a NYCHA office paid for with taxpayer funds) the meetings still go on. You have a large group of men (MEN ONLY) are meeting in an office paid for with tax dollars AND, we're told, the Rabbi's who get special privileges when it comes to Section 8 funding are also active members of this prayer group. (Ed note: If they were contractors having lunch with a NYCHA inspector, the IG would be quick to . . . okay, we might as well forget that example!)
Anyone connected to these two rabbis gets priority treatment from Section 8. The average family can wait years for Section 8 approval; these "Friends" average less than 6 months!"
From another email, we hear this:
"One of the Assistant Manager's from a "Parness" special unit retired recently, so who did he put in but one of his Orthodox buddies to get the flow going on the out of town transfers to NYC. This is just terrible, Not only is the Manager Orthodox, but now the assistant manager is a Sabbath Observer, and so is the Assistant Director Reinhold and Deputy Director Parness! What if there is an emergency on a Friday afternoon after Sundown in the fall winter or spring, or for that fact on one of the religious holidays, which we know are many during the year. Who is going to handle it Kern! I think not, Maybe they can make Ms Anthony a deputy and skip right over the provisional manager stint!"
"They have a new Asst. Manager named Meyer Friedman. He bumped himself from Manager for the Correspondence Unit of Housing Application about 15 months ago, because he was going to get written up. Now he has asked for a Parness job in Section 8. 'I've done my field time!', Meyer crows!
'Now Parness and Reinhold have promised me a job in a Special Unit!'
The guy is just horrendous. When the going gets rough he asks for a transfer or demotes himself! Why would anyone want him as a boss."
© MM Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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