NYCHA's Chairman Martinez received a good review for a morning meeting with the NYCHA troops, but received a rather poor one for the same meeting with other NYCHA troops that same afternoon.
Well, according to what we've been told, Spotty acted as a catalyst at the early meeting. When a gentleman mentioned the Spotlight, and the charges about NYCHA contained within, there was a moment in which I'm told the audience applauded. (Our humble thanks go out for that!) But, more importantly, the fact that NYCHA Chair Martinez still entertained the Spotlight question, and gave some thought to his answer, caused the audience to begin to believe that Martinez really was interested in the floundering morale.
They knew that just 2 years ago any question dealing with a sensitive subject would have drawn a glare from Ruben Franco that would instantly be translated into "you will be hounded out of your job for that!
("Sleepy" Finkel would be equally displeased, after they woke him from his nap and explained what had happened.)
So, it is still beginning to look
like change is in the air!
(However, for those who have written with rather uncomplimentary things to say about Martinez pre-NYCHA, you have nothing to fear. Spotty will keep one eye on the Chair to make certain he practices what he preaches.)
Even now there are some items being planned that seem doomed to failure. Having a multitude of eunuchs acting under some Ombudsman-like mirage seems to be doomed to failure. And, in our cynicism, we can't believe that John Martinez could really believe this idea was anything but a placebo for a critically ill employer/employee relationship.
The reason you have rarely seen the plural of Ombudsman (Ombudsmen) is that in order to be effective this independent morale monitor needs to have more than just an unusual title. He/She needs an arrow or two in the quiver if any respect is to be garnered.
In many cases, the power of the Ombudsman comes from awarding the title a "voice" at the organizations Board Meetings, along with space in the organizations main publication. In the Authority, that would mean the Ombudsman would be empowered to attend ALL Board meetings, INCLUDING any (normally secretive) "Emergency Meetings", where now only two people out of John Martinez, Kalman (Sleepy) Finkel) and Earl Williams are needed.
The Ombudsman would NOT have a vote on Housing Authority issues. But she/he MUST be allowed time to address the issues by voice, to give the employees point of view as she/he has heard it from the field.
And he/she can use the column to inform employees of what is happening.
Having the NYCHA Execs appoint even a single Ombudsman totally misses the point. (Will they allow the employees to choose the Chair? Of course not, as it presents a conflict.) And having a slew of Ombudsman, or some mishmash Ombudsman-like committee, is even more ridiculous.
And that causes some of us to feel a sense of deja-vu. For as good an impression the Chair seems to be trying to make, pushing some dumb idea that can be made to sound nice but, in actuality, is just an exercise in executive to employee mental masturbation demeans both the Chair and the Housing Authority workers. This plan would not even had deterred the abuses of the past that have brought us down this road of anguish.
If the folks meant to hear problems knew that they could suffer the same retaliation that many of us have faced in the past, they would quickly become part of the problem. I could just see Franco and Finkel having all the friends and relatives they now have on the NYCHA payroll assigned as the folks you should tell your troubles to. Hence, we would have wound up with some wide-spread auxiliaries to the current Sneakret Police (Special Investigations Unit.)
If, however, these scattered folks who the Chair claims will listen to complaints will just be assistants to an Ombudsman, then that might work. But it still requires some safeguards.
- 1) The Ombudsman still needs to be elected DIRECTLY by the employees. He would differ from a union representative, as he would be elected by, and represent, ALL NYCHA employees below managerial levels. He would have to be a NYCHA employee, or retiree, who is/was employed in a position beneath the managerial level.
- 2) Employees who are unsatisfied with the response gotten from one of the field asst-ombudsman would be in their rights to appeal to the elected Ombudsman.
We hope John Martinez will change the present plan into something like that suggestion, or at least something that has a chance at making a difference.
It's No . . No . . Nora again!
We might just as well start a new newsletter called "Joanna's People", as we get more information from that crowd than anywhere else in NYCHA. Between Malamo, Nick &Nora and now Klaperman, JoAnna Aniello has been too generous in supplying us grist for our mill.
This Issue presents two stories compliments of the New York City Housing Authority's fastest rising star's sycophants. And, we are expecting our info flow from Operations' shop to increase in the near future!
First up, Gilbert Klaperman. Gil is married to one of Mayor Giuliani's running mates from a past Mayoral election. So Gil has some powerful friends. As Ms. Aniello's son, Tony Carbonetti, is Rudy's Chief of Staff, we'll assume that Gil is well associated with Ms. Aniello.
And, that brings us to another of Ms. Aniello's friends, Nora Reissig-Lazzaro, the Asst. Director of Operations at the Housing Authority and one of the links between Ms. Aniello and the "lost" tenant "Termination Forms".
I received an envelope this week that had my address as the recipient, which seems proper. But it also had my info in the return address area. As the only time that happened before was in February of 1998 when I received the copies of the Termination Form memo (see Issue 15), I figured something good would be inside.
And it was!
It seems that our Mr. Klaperman had a nice touch at the Housing Authority. He was made a Hearing Officer for the Applicant Appeals Unit, which is under Ms. Aniello and then, further down the food chain, under our dear Nora.
Now, a 2 day a week gig ain't bad. But if you can get some extra days onto your timecard, well . . .
Of course, I have no idea if what you're about to read points to someone fudging on the Authority's strict rules and regulations about timecards, but it sure leaves a lot to be desired as far as accountability goes. For if the person signing your timecard has no idea if you did or did not work the hours as listed, your integrity might be tested.
Here's the scoop.
We have a Housing Authority memo dated October 23, 1998. It went from "Salvatore M. Conti, Manager, Applicant Appeals Unit" to "Nora Reissig-Lazzaro, Assistant Director of Operations Services for Tenancy Administration". The Subject was:
GILBERT KLAPERMAN'S TIME SHEET"
And it reads:
"I have been informed that as Supervisor of the Applicant Appeals Unit, I am to sign Mr. Klaperman's bi-weekly time sheets, as has been done by my predecessors.
Please note, as my predecessors have so noted, that my signature only accounts for Mr. Klaperman's whereabouts when he is physically present at a hearing, in the Applicant Appeals Unit, and not for the entire day as is indicated on his time sheets.
Currently, Mr. Klaperman is scheduled two days a week, Monday and Wednesday, as a Hearing Officer.
Please notify me should there be any changes regarding my signing Mr. Klaperman's time sheets.
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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