Saturday, January 15, 2011

The State of The Bronx Address by BP Diaz

"Safe Guarding Your Children on the Internet".

    You are invited to attend a free  informative workshop for Seniors, Adults and Youth entitled, "Safe Guarding Your Children on the Internet". Workshop hosted by Gethsemane Baptist Church Social Action Ministry.  No pre-registration required. 
    Workshop Facilitator:
Jessica Lupo, Assistant District Attorney
Investigations Division of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
     Tuesday, January 25, 2011    6:45 P.M. – 9:15 P.M. 
    Gethsemane Baptist Church Rev Torrence Robinson , Pastor 771 Fairmount Place (at corner of Fairmount Pl & Prospect Ave) Bronx, N. Y. 10460 
    (718) 294-7129   Contact if additional information needed. 
    Bus #40 or #42 to E. Tremont Ave & Prospect Ave 

Friday, January 14, 2011

    Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Bronx elected officials will honor the legacy and memory of the great civil rights leader, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during an interfaith service at Trinity Baptist Church. This year’s national theme is, “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day on…Not a Day Off”.
    The annual interfaith service will be co-hosted by the Bronx Borough President and Pastor Naomi Tyler Lloyd of Trinity Baptist Church.  
    Monday, January 17,       10:00 a.m.  
   Trinity Baptist Church, 808 East 224th Street      
   Between Barnes & Bronxwood Avenues.
IDC Issues Recommendations to Streamline State Government
$312 million wasteful spending, potential savings, uncovered
    The Independent Democratic Conference today submitted a series of recommendations to Governor Cuomo and his Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission that will help them streamline New York's sprawling bureaucracy. 
     The IDC's recommendations to crack down on overtime abuses, develop new accountability standards for outside contractors, review the use of state assets, and eliminate duplicative administrative functions, are based upon the work performed by the Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency.
     IDC members Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx/ Westchester), David J. Valesky, (D-Oneida), and Diane Savino, (D-Staten Island/ Brooklyn), serve as members of the Task Force, which during the last year uncovered more than $312 million in questionable spending and potential savings. 
     “New Yorkers are simply not getting their money's worth from state government,” Senator Klein said. “We have seen example after example of inefficiencies, duplications of services and outright abuse of state resources. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his commitment to restructuring Albany and we believe the Task Force's work will be a good starting point for this critically important job.”
     The IDC sent copies of the Task Force's reports and recommendations to Governor Cuomo and SAGE Commission Co-Chair Paul Francis. The materials will be provided to other members of the commission as they are announced. 
     Senator Savino said: "During these difficult economic times, it is clear that the old ways of doing business simply aren't working anymore. We must look at fresh and innovative ways to find savings—from consolidating bureaucracies, to cutting back on overtime and administrative waste, to reducing our reliance on costly contractors—so that we can bring real relief to New Yorkers, while still providing vital services.  I commend Governor Cuomo's efforts to improve government efficiency and look forward to working with the SAGE Commission, as well as my Senate colleagues, in finding ways to craft fiscally sound budgets. 
     Senator Valesky said: "The New York State government is too large and ineffective, and has become unsustainable, especially in this difficult economic climate. I strongly support Governor Cuomo's plan, through the SAGE Commission, to restructure the government, and I look forward to continuing the work the Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency has begun." 
     Senator David Carlucci, (D-Rockland), said: “New Yorkers work hard for their money and deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used in an ethical and efficient manner.  Based on the reports by the Senate Task Force on Governmental Efficiency, the Independent Democratic Conference will recommend examining the practice of how we use taxpayer funded assets, the practice of overtime and the consolidation of redundant administrative positions and offices that increase state costs without increasing the effectiveness of services. Such arrangements undermine taxpayers’ trust in government and deplete the States’ limited financial resources. At a time when we are asking all New Yorkers to do more with less, we cannot allow such waste and inefficiency to continue. We must work to streamline government while retaining jobs and continuing to provide critical services New Yorkers rely on.  I commend Governor Cuomo for making government efficiency a top priority.”
     The recommendations are based upon Task Force reports that focused on the SUNY system, the State Department of Transportation, the State Department of Correctional Services, and the former Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (now called the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.) 
     Based upon these reports, which can be found at, the IDC recommends: 
     Cracking Down on Overtime Abuse
     In both Fiscal Year 2008-09 and Fiscal Year 2009-10, the State spent more than $400 million in overtime. In 2009 alone, the Departments of Transportation, Correctional Services and OMRDD, the Task Force discovered a combined spending of $198.4 million in overtime.
      The IDC recommends that the Division of Budget be granted control over overtime spending in order to curb excessive spending by agency heads. The DOB would have to pre-approve any overtime spending at the various agencies. The Division of Budget should issue clear rules regarding the rules for the assignment of overtime.
     The IDC also recommends the administration end the practice of arbitrary hiring freezes, which, in practice, leads to a spike in overtime payments. 
     Enact Stricter Standards for State Contractors 
     The Task Force’s April 2010 report uncovered millions of dollars in DOT spending on outside contractors for projects and tasks that could have been performed at a lesser cost by in-house workers.  The Task Force identified 479 DOT contracts worth $147.5 million that were approved, but expired before the agreed upon project or service was ever started.
     While the money was not lost, it was tied up while the state was cutting back on essential services.
      The IDC recommends new accountability standards for those who seek to do business with the state. 
     Categorize and Re-assess the Use of Certain State Assets
     The Task Force's investigation into DOCS spending included claims by employees at DOCS that prison wardens were being given the use of luxurious homes near prisons for little, or no, cost. A separate inquiry found that in 2008, OMRDD paid more than $1.9 million for the purchase of two homes to care for 13 client. One of those properties, which included a pool and a hot tub, appraised for $5,000 less than the final purchase price. This price was 63 percent higher than the average area sales price during that time period. 
     The IDC recommends establishing a comprehensive and centralized database of state assets, and making a determination as to whether these assets should remain under state control. The state must also review policies relating to state-owned “perks,” such as apartments and houses.  
     Eliminate Duplicative Administrative Positions 
     In the examination of SUNY and DOCS the Task Force found examples of redundant administrative positions and offices that increase State costs without increasing the effectiveness of State services.
The Task Force reviewed the  spending of various police forces at SUNY campuses and found a surplus of high priced administrators.
     At DOCS,  the Task Force focused on several clusters of prisons across the State, i.e.,  areas in which two, or more correctional facilities are located right next to each other.
     Each prison at these clusters had their own independent administrative staff, including payroll and contracting staffs, even though each facility used the same local businesses to provide them with supplies.
     The IDC recommends that administrative functions at these various state facilities be consolidated. Assuming these consolidations led to a savings of 20% from the previous cost, the State could save $10 million each year in payroll expenses.
     It further recommends that the administration of the SUNY police system be centralized. As part of this centralization, the position of police chief for these local departments would be eliminated and replaced by a single administrator.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

State Senate Minority Leader John Sampson-What he Didn't Say to Us

    In this weeks column of 100 PERCENT (in the Bronx News or online at, the Bedford Park link on the left) we spoke to New State Senate Minority leader asking him about the new Independent Democratic Conference led by his former Deputy Leader Senator Jeff Klein. Sampson's answer was go ask Senator Klein, and we are all still Democrats. While I knew Senator Sampson's answer wasn't going to be "I didn't want to say anything that may incriminate me in the future", maybe because he was alone in the Bronx could that be why Sampson was so tight lipped.
    Wednesday night Senator John Sampson appeared on "Inside City Hall" with host Errol Lewis to talk about his new role as Senate Minority Leader, and the new IDC led by Senator Klein. Sampson opened up by saying that it was Senator Jeff Klein who nominated him, had a million dollar payroll, and knew about everything that was going on. Sampson added that only Senator Valesky spoke to him before the new IDC was created. Sampson criticized upstate Senator Carlucci, whom Sampson said got $750,000.00 dollars for his reelection bid, but also said nothing to Sampson on the IDC. 
    Minority Leader Sampson continued to ramble on with his rant, saying that Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. is the most independent senator in the senate who has stayed loyal to him. "Instead of giving me credit, people stab me in the back", referring to Senator Klein. Sampson also made sure that he mentioned Senator Klein's new office as one of the perks of the IDC. 
    The interview then changed to the subject of Walmart wanting to open in Senator Sampson's district. Sampson said that there is a difference between Walmart jobs and good paying jobs with benefits, also saying that his constituents are dependent on public assistance.
    Here is the link to the Wednesday January 12th Inside City Hall interview of Minority Leader John Sampson, and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What Did The City Council Hearings Find Out?

    In only a few hours of questioning top city officials the phrase "The City's Response was Unacceptable" could be heard by not only council members, but also by Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith who was in charge during the Christmas blizzard of 2010. Goldsmith admitted that there were many mistakes including that a snow emergency should have been called up to 24 hours prior to when it was declared.
    Council members found out that there were screw-ups and blunders by ill informed and ill equipped city officials. Many city vehicles did not have chains or radios to call for help when they got stuck, and there was no official announcement for private contractors to help remove the snow.
    At a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg said that the city is well prepared for tonight's snow learning from the mistakes of the previous storm. As the mayor took questions one reporter asked the mayor if he was in Bermuda during the blizzard. Mayor Bloomberg did not deny or confirm where he was, only to say that there is a public schedule that he has and private time. Bloomberg added that he will be taking in a Ranger game tonight, and believes that it will end before tonight's storm begins.

Monday, January 10, 2011


    The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC) is assisting Domino’s Pizza to hold an on-site recruiting event in The Bronx to help fill numerous positions available at the popular pizza chain.
     Domino’s Pizza is looking for energetic and self motivated assistant managers and drivers.  The on-site recruiting event will take place on Thursday, January 13, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, at the Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse.  
     This recruiting event is part of BOEDC’s program to assist companies in their search for employees. For more information, residents can call 718-982-5825.  
Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee Meeting
      The Croton FMC will next meet on Thursday, January 20 at 7pm at the DEP Community Office, 3660 Jerome Ave.  An agenda will be forwarded when it is available.           
      Call (718)625-1005 for more information, Martha M. Holstein, Strategic Urban Solutions, Inc.