FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 17, 2014
Press Contacts – Nick Moroni, in Congresswoman Maloney's office, (646)831-1649
Aaron Keyak, in Congressman Nadler's office, (202)225-5635
Josh Getlin, in Comptroller Stringer's office, (212)669-3733
Phyllis Shafran, Local 237 IBT, (646)638-8501
Comptroller Stringer's office meets with Representative Meeks, offices of Reps. Maloney, Nadler and Jeffries, and labor leaders to hear concerns and issues that a NYCHA audit should address
New York, NY – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office attended a meeting today at Teamsters Headquarters with Rep. Greg Meeks (NY-5), and the offices of several members of Congress and labor leaders to gather input and concerns pertaining to the operational practices of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Comptroller Stringer's office has already begun an audit of NYCHA practices – making good on a campaign commitment – but also wanted to hear suggestions from the labor leaders and members of Congress who initially called for the comprehensive audit.
"The troubled history and dysfunctional performance of NYCHA in our City requires a top to bottom investigation, and I'm announcing today that my office has commenced an official audit of the agency to begin the rebuilding process. We owe it to the thousands of New Yorkers who have suffered from substandard public housing for too many years, and I am proud to support the labor leaders and elected officials who have taken the lead in calling for long overdue changes at NYCHA, including Greg Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237, and all of the members of Congress who advocated for this," said Comptroller Stringer.
Joining Comptroller Stringer's office were labor leaders Gregory Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237; Vincent Alvarez, President of NYC Central Labor Council, and others; as well as Rep. Meeks and the offices of Reps. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Jerry Nadler (NY-10) and Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8).
The labor leaders, who represent over 12,000 NYCHA workers, and the congressional offices shared with Comptroller Stringer a number of concerns they have with past NYCHA practices. Among them: Concerns about the cost-effectiveness of outsourcing maintenance and repairs, the lack of professional job training within NYCHA, and whether NYCHA has or has not spent federal money it has received and if so, on what.
During the meeting, and at a following press conference, the labor leaders vowed to continue advocating for aforementioned reforms, and commended Comptroller Stringer for listening to their concerns and for beginning the audit. The congressional offices also thanked Comptroller Stringer for undertaking the audit, and committed to continue monitoring the issues with NYCHA. The congressional offices will also explore ways, at the federal level, to help reform NYCHA.
Today's meeting followed a November 2013 meeting, at which Reps. Maloney, Nadler, Yvette Clarke (NY-9) and Grace Meng (NY-6) and labor leaders Mario Cilento, President of NYS AFL-CIO, as well as Floyd, Alvarez, and others called on then Comptroller-elect Stringer to conduct a comprehensive audit of NYCHA. Shortly after that meeting, then Comptroller-elect Stringer vowed that his office was going to comprehensively audit NYCHA. His office reaffirmed that commitment today.
"I commend Comptroller Stringer for beginning the comprehensive audit and I look forward to its findings – whatever they may be. One thing is clear, though: with the comptroller's commitment, a new administration and a soon-to-announced, new chairman, it will no longer be business as usual at NYCHA. Reform is coming. I applaud all the labor leaders and my colleagues in Congress who have been advocating for the audit and for reform," said Congresswoman Maloney.
"I am extremely pleased that Comptroller Stringer has already begun to move forward with a full audit of NYCHA's finances and operations, as we called for late last fall," said Congressman Nadler. "I look forward to continuing to work together with the Comptroller's office, the new administration, my colleagues and labor leaders to better understand NYCHA's past failings and to move forward with much-needed reforms to protect our public housing and the workers who serve those developments."
"A top-down audit by New York City Comptroller Stringer would assist with remedying the agency's chronic mismanagement, and begin to revitalize the oldest and largest public housing organization in the United States," said Congressman Meeks. "The need for affordable housing is unprecedented, and improving the agency's operations is essential to sustaining healthy communities for all New Yorker."
"I am gratified that the hardships our union members have long endured due to mismanagement at NYCHA are now going to be addressed. At our meeting today, we received commitments from the Office of the NYC Comptroller and our Congressional leaders—led by Congresswoman Maloney—that relief was on the way. We discussed measures that would make NYCHA operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, so that our workers do not live in constant fear of lay-offs or furloughs, and so that they have the tools to get the job done. Through the Comptroller's top-to-bottom forensic audit, we will be able to identify how money is spent. Through Congressional adjustment to the outdated and inadequate funding formula used by HUD that places New York City's aged housing stock at a disadvantage, we would receive more funding. These are the type of initiatives that focus on the problems and solutions we have known for a long time: NYCHA is broken. Fix it," said Gregory Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237.
"We can no longer allow our city's public housing infrastructure to fall further into disrepair, while NYCHA sits on billions of dollars that could be used to improve conditions for residents," said Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. "Now is the time to move past the divisive politics and overuse of contract outsourcing of the Bloomberg era. We owe it to taxpayers to put a moratorium on the outsourcing of contracts, and implement the training programs necessary to employ hardworking New Yorkers to update our aging public housing facilities."
"We commend Congresswoman Maloney and the New York delegation for shining a spotlight on waste and mismanagment at NYCHA. We also thank Comptroller Stringer for moving forward with a thorough and much needed audit that will finally bring the 400,000 residents, the workers and the public the oversight and transparency that they deserve. NYCHA is a part of the fabric of our City, and we cannot allow it to be undermined any further," said Mario Cilento, President of NYS AFL-CIO.