Open Letter to NYCHA Chair Martinez
Damn, damn, damn! A NYCHA event that may well have been conceived in hope, had the misfortune to culminate in a miscarriage. Yes, we're talking about the big meeting(s) at the Jacob Javitts Center on Monday, June 28. While it isn't yet necessary to grab back that WISE award from you, it is time to uncover how much of a farce the meeting turned out to be.
1) First, as we did mention in Issue 24, the date on the meeting announcement was June 15. The announcement stated that questions could be submitted in advance up until June 21. But some supervisors didn't distribute the memo until June 25, four days AFTER the deadline for submitting any questions while maintaining anonymity!
2) Some supervisors spread the word that they wouldn't look kindly on anyone who asked any "serious" questions that could embarrass the supervisor or any Housing Authority execs.
3) Some supervisors chose the teams and team leaders from a pool of closely monitored employees. No employee who might still attempt to ask a question about important issues would get invited to participate. And as the deadline for anonymous questions had passed, the most disillusioned New York City Housing Authority employees had no chance for their concerns to be aired. (And, unless your whole "up with morale" campaign is just some internal public-affairs gimmick, the disillusioned are exactly those to whom you must appeal.)
4) You seem to have thought that you could hold a mass meeting like this and expect it to be only a forum wherein employees would address the "BIG" issues and never just ask questions that are specific and only germane to their own work environment. Of course the field folks would want answers about long standing grievances in their area. And a secretary at 250 Broadway would quickly express her feelings about something that exists only in his/her daily routine. Yet, we're told that those on the stage were rather perturbed that this didn't become a Renaissance, think-tank type of exchange on the true place of NYCHA and public housing in today's society.
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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