(Editor's Note: The following is from two of NYCHA's finest. One is a retired exec and the other works at one of NYCHA's largest Developments. We've combined the main points of both into a single statement. This shortens the space needed while helping in concealing the identity of the authors.)
"Sprinkler systems are a rarity in NYCHA developments. For the most part, NYCHA has what is known as a standpipe system. This pipe is found in all of the stair halls. In case of fire, the Firemen are supposed to just open the valve on the floor where the fire is located and use the hose attached to the standpipe to put out the fire.
But, that's only in theory. In actual NYCHA practice, chances are they'll not have a working standpipe system to use.
The valve handles, valve caps and the hose ends are all made of brass, which makes them salable as scrap metal. To help stop any thievery, NYCHA has removed most, if not all, valve handles and valve caps. Even the hoses have been removed by NYCHA in most all of the development's stair halls. According to the field plumbers, just about all of the main control valves in every Project have been chained in the open position.
NYCHA is lacking in the number of plumbers (as it is severely short of almost all of the other skilled trades) needed to perform all the maintenance and safety checks required to conform to the various safety recommendations where these standpipe systems are concerned."
That explains why the finger-pointing after the Vandalia Houses fire never seemed to find anyone of note as being responsible. If NYCHA can't even maintain a simple sprinkler system anywhere in the 5 boroughs, blame is sure going to be hard to localize. And if, due to the 5 borough mess, blame must be placed at someone who has NYCHA-wide authority (i.e.: an Exec), then blame will never ever be placed.
(Ed Note: The following stories were sent in by current and former employees from Leased Housing and Section 8:)
Seems that Gregory Kern wasn't up to snuff for his new position.
I understand that two weeks ago Kern was sent to D.C. to get funding for the program, and who did they have to have him go with? None other than Mr. Harold Sole! Poor Kern had to sit at the same table with his archenemy. I know Graziano and Kern were College buds, and now with Paul on the way out, Kern is sweating big time!
Looks like Greg just ain't got the stuff needed to replace Harold.
As far as the worm Parnes, we would need 5 issues of Spotty to cover it all! He is sneaky and from what I understand, he is keeping his own memoirs! Just in case he has to leave NYCHA real quick! He has a list of favors he can call in from of all the people he helped get Section 8 in Brooklyn. They are all his Orthodox Buddies, and they get the Royal treatment, by order of Kalman Finkel.
We understand that these Friends of Finkel are being moved rather quickly off the interview list. While most people have to wait weeks for an appointment to pick up their Section 8 Voucher, Finkel's list of people get interviewed and are picking up their Voucher's in a matter of two weeks. Finkel uses Mr. Parnes to insure the special treatment.
Parnes is known all over the Orthodox community and has a direct hot line to every COJO operation out there. His buddy Finkel must have given his Telephone Number out to everyone.
My friends in Section 8 have been asking: "How come we don't get calls from Finkel anymore complaining or telling people to act quickly on his buddies requests for Section 8 Vouchers?"
The reason is, they now have a direct hot line:
Via Parnes to Section 8.
It makes it all the more amazing just how long the rest of the public has to wait.
The Brooklyn Section 8 office is just horrible; H.A.'s are leaving as fast as they get there! It's amazing that when they show their little movie on how to secure an apartment on Section 8, in the skit they are told to try and find an apartment in other than a high crime area. They are given a map, which indicates which areas to stay out of, as they are trouble prone locations. You might think it is nice that NYCHA is worried about their safety.
Then isn't it ironic that all five Section 8 offices are located in those very same high crime areas. I guess it's ok for the employees to work there, but not ok for people to live there! Who cares if our co-workers are at risk everyday!
Another of Kern's critic's writes: Leased Housing will be losing Sam Hasni on June 30th. Sam is retiring, and his friends wish him well. Yada, yada yada . . . !
As much as Sam will be missed, the good news for the rest of us is that someone with managerial experience is coming to Leased Housing a month prior to Sam's departure, which should allow for a smooth transition.
Don't bet on it!
Instead, with a union in chaos fighting off all sorts of corruption charges and political appointees and other kiss-ups running things in NYCHA, we hear that the position will be filled by a Gregory Kern protégé!
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.
It's bad enough when NYCHA has certain "connected" people getting promoted from the lowest pay grades to the upper reaches of NYCHA's Sky Boxes (think Joanna), but when Civil Service titles mean absolutely nothing and when Provisional appointees can be promoted at the expense of people with legitimate Civil Service managerial titles, is there any reason to take a Civil Service exam anymore?
And finally, we received this rather brief, but to the point, email:
Martinez looked good in the beginning.
He said the right things and made us think there would be changes.
As the booing at this last BIG MEETING showed, however, he's really just Franco with a smile!
© MM Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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