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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 58
Published on June 15, 2000

(Click Here for NYCHA "preliminary" Audit
by NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi)

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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It's not my job,

Freddy Prinze may not have planned it as such, but his words, "It's not my job, man!", could well become a rallying cry throughout NYCHA.

Are you being paid less than your position requires? Is your boss assigning you tasks based on abilities that, if officially recognized, would make your paycheck a little heftier? Well, you might take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Moreover, you might take even more comfort in knowing that you CAN do something about it.

Let's look at an example of this scheme.

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We're told that in 1993 the Design Department assigned Deborah Oliver to work in Design's Computer Support Section. She began as a "Help Desk" support person and also performed as a Training Coordinator. Deborah showed an aptitude for her work that soon had her bosses sending her for more advanced training.

She learned how to support both Unix workstations and servers. Next up, she became proficient in support of the Windows NT workstations and servers. Things were going swimmingly . . . for NYCHA and the Design Department. Deborah was taking care of the Design Departments problems and saving the cost of downtime that would normally accrue while Design waited for Computer Services to have time to send someone down to fix the system(s). Things were going so well that on April 15, 1999 NYCHA took that whole section of the Design Dept. and transferred control of it over to Computer Services.

But even after that change, Deborah was still getting paid as a Secretary?

That's right, even though NYCHA had arranged all her training, and her superiors had nothing but praise for her work, NYCHA would not pay her for the "out-of-title" work they had her doing! She had been a Secretary III, and so she would remain. She had talents, they agreed. But she had no "connections." She was just some schlep doing her job, as far as the powers-that-be* were concerned. And NYCHA pays MILLIONS of $ to "Consultants" to work on those very same Windows NT systems that Deborah was fixing on a Secretary's salary. Design had a whole section of folks trained to support the computers in their department, but because Deborah asked to get paid for her work, she and her peers are now being reassigned to their original (CHEAPER) positions/salaries. Then we can afford to use consultants more often.

Amdahl and the other consulting firms have powerful friends, both at 250 Broadway and at that gated fortress across the street. If we don't keep the consultant's happy, they may not like us as much at Christmas . . . New Year's . . . our birthday . . . Monday at lunchtime, Tuesday at dinner, etc and etc! We just can't have unhappy consultants, can we???

So, Deborah filed a grievance. And the union did a GREAT job! In the beginning, at least. According to our union source, the union and NYCHA entered arbitration.

As a result, NYCHA was ordered by the arbitrator to pay her back wages equal to the difference between the titles of Secretary III and Computer Associate Software L2. Finally, Deborah had a fair hearing and an independent arbiter had agreed that she was being taken advantage of all these years!

Wow! A win against the nepotism/cronyism/city hall-ism tactics that have run rampant at NYCHA for years!


NYCHA decided that if it doesn't like an arbiter's ruling, it will just ignore it.

Instead of receiving the check for monies owed, Deborah was, in effect, penalized for doing a good job. Effective April 14, 2000, exactly one year from the date that Deborah's Section had been placed under Computer Services, Deborah Oliver was directed to:

  • 1) keep her title of Secretary III
  • 2) stop doing any computer work and
  • 3) be reassigned as a secretary back in the Design Dept.

"But wait!" you cry. The union will be fighting for her. It will be an easy one, even for them. They already have an arbiter's decision to use as ammo.

Wrong again!

The union has backed out. They claim they can't fight NYCHA on this.

(Then what the hell are they there for. Collecting and counting dues money should still leave time to fight for one or two members a month. Or do the trips to conventions eat up all the officials' precious time?)

For what it's worth, Spotty thinks everyone working "out-of-title" at NYCHA, and the City Agencies, ought to band together and get legal representation. Show that if the boss screws you over, and the union folds, you've learned how to use management's own gunslinger's, the attorneys.

I'd bet the ranch that just the fact that a few of you would retain council would quickly put an end to having talented people work out of title just so that there's enough taxpayers' money left to promote some of the useless lumps currently sitting in positions of power at 250 Broadway.

Let's keep in mind that Bruce Gatewood's resume can list "NYCHA's Director of Computer Services", while his main talents really lie in sexually harassing those unfortunate females within his reach.

But Deborah Oliver can't even list a computer title on her resume, although that was the field in which NYCHA had her toil?

Also on Computer Services, we told you they
were going to give the boot to Dr. Cardenas.

Guess what? He's history!

© MM Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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Contact Jack Ballinger at nychaspotlight@netscape.net
for a Real Audio sound clip containing a
conversation wherein DOI Investigator
John Kilpatrick discusses how he learned
that 2 NYCHA execs attended
a Mafia connected contractor's funeral .

Contact Jack Ballinger at nychaspotlight@netscape.net
for a Real Audio sound clip containing
the (3 Meg) confession of Tony DiAlto.
Tony was a member of a group of
corrupt Contract Inspectors working at NYCHA.
Neither Tony nor the person he confessed to
sharing his bribes with (Richard Penesi)
were ever charged, let alone prosecuted, by DOI.

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