"Outrageous", "preposterous", "scurrilous",
"collusive", "not qualified".
If those of you who know NYCHA's Maristella Kelsey and Sonia Guidry were asked to describe them, would those be the descriptive terms you would use? Well, they are the terms used by RuRuben Franco in this week's Chief to explain the demotion of both of those women. For some reason, Ruben claimed amnesia when it came to the name of the woman who was also forced to retire.
(If someone will direct Ruben to our
Issue 5, he'll find that the name of
the other "not qualified" woman he "forgot"
was Alberta Fuentes. She was bounced out of
the Directorship of NYCHA's
Staff Development Department.)
He also was not asked about the simultaneous demotion/salary reduction of Bat-Sheva Horodniceanu (later rescinded) and the earlier demotion of Shirley Brown, both of whom had also complained to others about sexual harassment at the Authority.
It seems that the Chief's story about the recently filed sexual harassment suit against NYCHA and Mr. Franco has now made Ruben go on the offensive. As only two of the victims named in Issue 5 have found the necessary courage to come forward and stand up to the misogynistic bullies that roamed the halls of 250 Broadway, Rantin' Franco has placed both Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Guidry in his sights.
But it ain't gonna work. Not as long as "witnesses" are still allowed in our country's courts.
Because we've been told that both women excelled at their jobs, and their peers will confirm that fact if this case ever gets to trial. And, we hear a look through all their previous evaluations by their supervisors will back them up on their job performance.
Of course, Mr. Franco's tale must be heard, also. But a past history of falsehoods may cause our Ruben to start ranting again.
Let's view some of his past statements.
In this issue of the Chief, Rantin' states that he wasn't asked to leave NYCHA. He states that he "just wanted to move on."
Come on, Rantin. Even you can do better than that! Weeks before Rudy dumped you, you were insisting that there was no way you would leave NYCHA. (From a story by Robert Polner in the January 19, 1999 issue of Newsday, "Franco's resignation from the $133,000-a-year post came shortly after he proclaimed, 'I have no plans on leaving.'")
You also deny that Rudy gave you the boot, while Rudy's staff, in the same Newsday article, tell a different story .("Mayoral aides said that in recent months, Giuliani had lost faith in Franco, and was frustrated by the authority's lack of accountability and internal squabbling.")
And, again in that same story, you told the reporter that the sexual harassment charges had "no merit."
Let me get this straight now.
Taking the whole story from your own mouth, we are expected to believe the following:
Alberta Fuentes, Maristella Kelsey and Sonia Guidry became a group of "outrageous", "preposterous", "scurrilous", women who "conspired" to submit false charges against an innocent New York City Housing Authority executive named Bruce Gatewood.
You told the press that you found the charges to have "no merit."
The Spotlight published the women's story, and the NY Post quoted from it.
Simultaneously, Alberta Fuentes was forced to resign, and Maristella Kelsey and Sonia Guidry were demoted. You state that they were all incompetent, and that the charges (and the accompanying publicity) played no part in their subsequent punishment.
Months later, when the heat was turning up, you changed the story a bit. You bragged that you had "placed a letter" about the sexual harassment in Bruce Gatewood's file. But that was all you said, until now.
Now, with Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Guidry fighting to regain their dignity, you brag that these same "false charges" that had "no merit" caused you to force Mr. Gatewood to resign. You state, in this week's Chief, that you demanded Bruce's resignation, and that he left within a month with "no severance pay, no deal whatsoever."
So I'm now totally confused.
If Bruce is being persecuted by some corrupt cabal of female Housing Authority employees who are fabricating the whole thing, then why would you force Bruce Gatewood to resign?
On the other hand, if our brave Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Guidry are two victims of Bruce's lechery, why punish them by demoting and/or transferring them?
You try hard to have it both ways, Rantin. That's probably why you're gone and John Martinez is now running the Authority.
People have submitted your name in hopes that you'd get a Spotlight DUMB Award. I hope they now see that it would just be redundant. After reading all the conflicting statements you've made on this subject, one thing becomes obvious.
When it comes to dumb,
you're second to none.
Better Late than Never . . . Maybe?
The Spotlight had been lit for a full year on June 24, 1999. Some of you wrote and asked why we let the date pass without an Anniversary Issue. The reason was mainly a personal one. Persons who were once trusted friends of this rag had suddenly decided that the almighty $ would be their prime motivator. So, since the last half of June things were rather bleak around here, and we didn't feel like playing the anniversary game.
But there's too much currently going on to allow much time for licking of wounds. Instead, Let's look at all we've accomplished, and learned, over the past 13 months.
Continue to trust those whom your instincts tell you are decent people. For each one who turns out to be untrustworthy, you'll have made a dozen long lived friendships.
Every large edifice starts with a foundation. So do all of our Companies/Agencies/Authorities. There are executives at 250 Broadway who are learning that the Authority's foundation is not beneath the various buildings in the Developments. NYCHA's "foundation" begins with the lowest paid employees. And when individual members of its management decide that they are free to mistreat those who report to them, cracks form in the foundation. In this case, it may not be apparent exactly where the cracks began. Because, as a matter of survival, the Authority's low level employees are shaking the Authority by causing the "cracks" to begin in departments other than the one in which they work. They are keeping their collective ears to the wall; thereby monitoring neighboring departments to find grist for Spotty's mill.
And we're happy to get more corroboration of both the corruption and the mistreatment of employees
Have "High Hopes." This rag was laughed at by Franco and other Housing Authority execs for months after we began. Now, the closest Ruben Franco gets to his old office at 250 Broadway is when he visits a local bar in the City Hall area. Norberto Caballary laughed at Spotty, and he'll either be gone before you read this, or he will be within the week. And MANY employees at 250 Broadway have reported that the atmosphere at their workplaces has changed. Same Manager, same Employees. Only difference is that the Manager is now listening to the employee. The manager now has more respect for those under him/her. In return, the employee begins to feel as though he/she is now a part of the process, not just a tool to be used in whatever fashion the manager so chooses.
Don't give up, Don't give up, We have received some suggestions over the past year. Many were helpful, and were incorporated in Spotty in some way. But others were ignored. One we almost followed, but we're glad we didn't. That was the suggestion that we drop the $100,000,000 building story, as it would go nowhere. Instead, shortly after we began harping on it, Finkel was forced to admit to the relationship of the real estates owners to Finkel and Finkel's son. (More on that LIC building in the next issue.)
Don't give up, Don't give up!
And finally! We learned that most politicians and appointed officials may talk a good game, but when asked to investigate an area that may force them to clash heads with a strong City Hall, they become meek and backbone-less. Or, if the rumor is true, when it looks like an investigation could embarrass politicians from both political parties the investigators become very adept at avoiding any investigation. But, if you keep banging your head on their door, they will eventually be forced to grant you a hearing.
So, we wish ourselves and all you NYCHA
Spotty's a belated, but very
NYCHA Public Housing Agency Managerial Tips!
Until your employees hate you,
you're not doing your job well!
I know that is utterly ridiculous. And so do you. But, even though New York City Housing Authority's executives have access to all manner of managerial seminars, both those run by private consulting companies and other government run classes, it's obvious that some VIP's have slept through the classes.
And our perennial PiÑata,, Ms. JoAnna Aniello, must have had
one hell of a comatose catnap.
Had she just missed the many Master/Serf tips such a seminar provides, there'd be no need to have her name grace another of Spotty's issues. We'd just have another manager in search of a clue. Who would care?
But no! Ms. Aniello has her own ideas on labor relations. And her ideas do more to cast light on one of the Authority's problems than the past year of the Public Housing Spotlight ever could. We now fear that Ms. Aniello mistook Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, for the handbook on employee relations. For this woman, barely 6 years away from her job as a clerical at HPD, must have become a follower of the slave dealer Simon Legree's philosophy on dealing with those beneath you in that all-important Chain-Of-Command!
If you'll recall in our last issue (Issue 25), we mentioned how Ms. Aniello was loudly booed upon her introduction at the huge Javitts Center "Up With Morale" meeting. We opined that NYCHA had truly come near bottom when the rank and file would chance severe disciplinary punishment in order to vocalize his or her dissatisfaction with someone up on that stage. Low level employees and their supervisors gave a verbal lashing to this NYCHA VIP, while they stood in full view of their superiors.
Did Ms. Aniello learn from that shocking display? NOT!
Instead of reflecting on the problem, we're told that Joanna has been telling everyone in earshot that "the booing proves that I'm doing a good job." A good job?
Considering that Ms. Aniello has had her hand in every NYCHA scandal save the sexual harassment charges, it would take a massive amount of hubris for her to brag up her job performance even prior to the embarrassing display directed towards her at the Javitts meeting. Let's remember, Ms. Aniello was in the Chain for the paint disasters. Ms. Aniello was also in the Chain for the horrifying death of the firemen at Vandalia Houses. (Remember the lack of working sprinklers. Go to our Web Corruption Issue for some hints as to how something like that could happen.) Ms. Aniello also attempted to set unreasonable and unsafe quotas on those installing the peeping-tom cameras in our developments.
Ms. Aniello has, it seems, spent most of her time coming up with memos that attempt to insure that she can never be held responsible for anything. (If you don't know what I'm referring to, ask a NYCHA Super and/or Manager. They'll tell you of the stuff she's sent out to the field. Thus far, she can't get people to sign these idiotic attempts to maintain all of her authority while shifting 100% of any responsibility to those below her on our beloved Chain-Of-Command.)
Sometimes, when a person is advanced at an accelerated rate, things work out. Other times, a person may not have the competence necessary to handle the increased authority. Or the increased power goes to the person's head. Joanna's rise was clocked at, for NYCHA, the speed of light. And now she has made it clear that her competence did not accelerate quite so fast. This makes it of paramount importance that someone higher up on the Almighty Chain must step in and straighten the mess out.
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
Issue links are at page bottom
or click here for a Directory page with Issue overviews.
Click on the mailbox to send us your thoughts!
Or Message/Fax us with info at 718/745-0170