We asked for your thoughts on the Spotlight, and you came through. There was only one letter of complaint and, albeit I'm certain that it was not the author's intention, that letter just illuminates a major NYCHA problem.
Here's the letter in its entirety:
"I happen to supervise Vernita Anthony at the present time, and she is uniquely qualified to replace Sam Hasni. It is absurd to write something detrimental about her, when you have no idea what you are writing. Ms. Anthony is an extremely hard worker, very bright, and extraordinarily cooperative. It is ridiculous to write negative material from uneducated sources, and print it as fact. Vernita will be an excellent replacement for Sam, and deserves the job."
Now while that Supervisor might not see the problem with his logic, I'm betting that those of you holding Civil Service Titles might see things differently. As we pointed out in Issue 56, where the story ran, Ms. Anthony has NOT taken and passed the exam for Mr. Hasni's title. But, there is someone with the necessary title now being carried as overage. Here's the exact quote from Issue 56:
"Ms. Marjorie Horowitz, a Civil Service Housing Manager, will be coming into Leased Housing on May 30. And Sam leaves a month later, on June 30. As Ms. Horowitz would be listed as overage in Leased Housing, she should get Sam's position by virtue of her Civil Service standing. But it won't happen. Kern has told people that he will be promoting Ms. Vernita Anthony by using a Provisional Appointment to place her in Sam's title."
So, we didn't say Ms. Anthony wasn't qualified. As she hasn't taken the test, we have no idea of her qualifications. But, this supervisor, as well as many of NYCHA's leaders, seems to find Civil Service tests to be useless. He, and the others, think the world runs much better when relatives, friends and lovers get the raises, transfers and promotions.
Between merit pay raises and promotions based on clique, NYCHA is attempting to take its workers back in time. Back to a time when one's competence counted much less than one's willingness to join a corrupt clique.
I hope that, in order to save face on this, NYCHA begins to teach their supervisors that to openly insist on the merits of ignoring Civil Service status and, instead, promoting based on a supervisor's friendship is NOT something John Martinez would enjoy defending. (Of course, doing it quietly has been the status quo at NYCHA. Ask any of Franco's ex-mistresses!)
All the other mail was positive, which has infused us with enough energy that we might just stay around for another 2 years! Most of the mail was short, such as:
"We are very grateful to you for your wonderful publication. It's professional and honest. Many are afraid to send you info. The oppressive atmosphere is worsening. Threats are everywhere.
Keep up the good work."
I am a former NYCHA employee. I joined a city internship program right out of college and worked for NYCHA for a few years. Out of a sense of civic duty, primarily for idealistic reasons concerning urban housing issues.
Then at about my third year I got tired of the overt corruption and blatant disrespect for the cities residents. So please keep the vigilant torch burning. With people like your self morality with good intention will once again prevail in the city agencies!
As a toiling serf for NYCHA, I want to say thank you for bringing about this newsletter on the web. I have my own long, sad, hellish story to tell, but I wish you guys luck in uncovering and correcting the putrid practices of our employer.
Issues of Spotlight have been very important because of all the unfair tactics in the NYCHA system.
Keep the SPOTLIGHT ALIVE. EXCELLENT WORK.
The next writer wryly commented on some quotes out of Issue 54, as it concerned issues with which he/she was very familiar. The 3rd comment might bear looking into:
Quote: In both cases, the Post ran the stories without ever contacting us. (It seems that whatever City Hall wants, the Post will do!)
Comment: Some reporters are part of the City's Steno pool
Quote: But I can't fathom how Steve Pasichow, Steve Gruberger and John Kilpatrick can face their reflections in the mirror each morning!)
Comment: Maybe they don't see a reflection!
Quote: The stated "purpose" of their trip was to look at the new boilers that would soon be used to replace ailing NYCHA plants.
Comment: I always felt that trips were being used as payoffs and that maybe travel arrangements are made through politically connected travel agents.
This writer seems to like the rag:
"WOW! When I got to work this morning, the joint was jumping! (Anonymous) did a hand stand down the aisle. We all went to lunch and laughed our asses off. the place went crazy bonkers all day LONG!
MORALE WAS A + for the first in ages! The whole floor was buzzing.
Spotty was EVERYWHERE! We received loads of copies. People were faxing 'em to 250 from all over the Authority! There were grins from ear to ear from the elevators on into Roy Rogers!
(Anonymous) was singing "Who's sorry now" all damn day!
YOU MADE EVERYONE SO HAPPY! Thanks so much!"
The next writer is a NYCHA Exec. He's been a long time fan of Spotty, and he's one of my heroes in this long running battle. For unknown reasons, he has not yet been forced to sleep next to the "Pod" and had his (mind and) body "snatched":
"I wish you could see me now. I'm standing up, looking at this article and giving you a STANDING OVATION.
You have articulated so well what I've been feeling for so long.
Perhaps, if the spirit moves me, I might put my own pent up frustrations into text and send it to you as a 'guest editorial'. Please realize that despite any and all frustrations that you might feel regarding a lack of action by the DOI or Steve Pasichow , we little people out in the trenches truly appreciate all the incalculable hours and painstaking research that your 'upstart rag' brings forth in an attempt to shine the SPOTLIGHT on these sc------!"
"I just wanted you to know that while many of us may not write, cause we fear getting retaliated against, we are happy that the Spotlight exists.
Our bosses are more wary of mistreating someone now, cause they fear that Spotty will write them up.
So thank you."
And Spotty thanks you all!
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