Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Feds to Investigate NYC Snow Cleanup Slowdown

Honestly, I'm surprised they've acted so quickly on this one, but it's more than welcome. If it's found there was an intentional work slowdown they should spare no mercy.
The feds have opened a criminal investigation into allegations that city employees conspired to paralyze the city during last week's blizzard by failing to remove the snow, authorities confirmed today.

The probe launched by the Brooklyn US Attorney's Office comes in response to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens) revelations to The Post last week that sanitation workers told him they were involved in a work slowdown, sources told The Post.

At the same time, both the Brooklyn and Queens DAs offices have started their own investigations into whether there was a work slowdown.

The Brooklyn US Attorney's Office is investigating whether there was a conspiracy to cripple parts of the city, according to a source.

The feds are trying to determine whether the plow supervisors conspired to defraud city taxpayers by padding their overtime pay, which could result in mail or wire-fraud charges.

The DAs in both counties, where snow removal was at its worst, are conducting inquiries as well, spokesmen for those offices confirmed to The Post.

Mayor Bloomberg and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty have denied there was any orchestrated effort to halt the cleanup effort.

Halloran told The Post that he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."
Frankly I have no idea why the Post is calling these people snitches. If someone was blowing the whistle on, say, Halliburton, would they be classified as such?

A union head defends their actions.
Joseph Mannion, head of the Sanitation supervisors union, said he welcomed the probe as a chance to clear his members' names.

"We have nothing to hide. We absolutely did nothing wrong and I look forward to it. We would like to get this behind us. We have a lot of work to do," said Mannion, president of Local 444 of the Sanitation Officers Association.

"This is totally deflating the morale of the department - and they are still out there working. That makes it tough when they are the target of something they are not responsible for."

Halloran said he did not believe the unions were at fault.

"I have said from the beginning that I was talking about some supervisors in Queens and Brooklyn who have a grudge," he said. "It wasn't all the rank and file. And I don't believe it was a union-sanctioned operation."

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