Thursday, December 27, 2018

Five - Alarm Southern Boulevard Fire injures Two People, and Wrecks Havoc on Traffic For Two Hours

   A five-alarm fire which was confined to only one first floor apartment at 2363 Southern Boulevard had two people in the second floor apartment above the fire go to the hospital for smoke inhalation. At Six P.M. Police from the 48th Precinct closed Southern Boulevard from Fordham Road for a six block stretch halting all traffic on the street as tower ladders were in place to allow firemen to quickly get on the roof of the six story building. The entire building did not have to be evacuated, only those apartments on the south side of the wrap around building where the fire was located, and the first floor across from the apartment where the fire of an unknown cause occurred. Fire engines from as far as Bailey Avenue were called to the scene and remained in place for over one hour until the fire was completely put out, and all adjoining sections as well as any crawl spaces were checked out to make sure the fire did not spread further than the one apartment which was demolished from the inside.

Above - Water spurts from the apartment on fire out this window to the other side of the building.
Below - Tower ladders were set up so firemen could quickly get to the roof, and to allow for hoses to be placed on the roof if necessary.  

Above - One of the two people who were assisted out of the building by firemen was placed on a gurney to be loaded into an ambulance for transportation to the hospital.
Below - Only a few of the many emergency vehicles and workers who were on scene at 2363 Southern Boulevard. 

Above - As the fire was put out, all the belongings were thrown out of the apartment onto the sidewalk or courtyard to make sure that the fire would not start again.
Below - This bus became stuck between fire engines fighting the fire and more fire engines behind it that came to assist. The bus was turned into a temporary shelter while it waited for the fire to be put out and street reopened.

New Bronx Chamber of Commerce and Bronx Tax Man Corp. present a FREE Breakfast Seminar:

How the "Tax Cut and Jobs Act" will Affect You

presented by
The New Bronx Chamber of Commerce
and Bronx Tax Man Corp.

FRIDAY | JANUARY 11, 2019 | 9:00AM
Residence Inn by Marriott  |  2nd Floor Conference Room
1776 Eastchester Rd. | Bronx, NY 10461 | Hutch Metro Atrium
─  doors open at 8:30am  ─
  • Mr. Cerini will be covering some of the most prominent changes affecting us all.
  • Come, listen and learn how our lives will be changing with the New Tax Plan for 2019 and beyond.
  • Whether you own a business, a primary or investment home, have children, have investments and capital gains, or if you are an employee of un-reimbursed employee expenses, there are many changes coming our way.
  • Come to our breakfast seminar to learn and ask questions.
  • John Cerini and staff will be on hand to answer your questions afterwards one-on-one.
John Cerini has an extensive background in the financial world as a Tax Preparer, Real Estate Broker, Insurance Broker and a Notary Public. John has been operating the office on East Tremont for 18 years, and will be here for you when you need him. John and the dedicated staff at Bronx Tax Man Corp. offer the highest level of quality tax, accounting, and financial service to individuals, corporations, partnerships, and other clients.

For more information or to RSVP (by Wednesday, January 9, 2019), contact Phil Cardone at 718-828-3900 or

The New Bronx Chamber of Commerce represents businesses, from large corporations, mid- to small-sized companies, mom-and-pop shops, cultural institutions, universities and colleges, hospitals and medical centers.

Our mission is to strengthen the economic viability while forming initiatives and partnerships with those businesses, organizations and institutions we represent.

Visit for information on our next networking events as well as other Chamber events in your area. Additional information: 718-828-3900.

Wave Hill events January 10‒17

Sat, January 12
With Wave Hill’s grounds as inspiration, design your favorite dawn or dusk landscape with the silhouette of a forest, city skyline or bridge. Create the multitude of shades of the twilight sky by blending together different colors of paint and using dyed tissue paper to construct your stunning scenes. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sat, January 12
Unlike domesticated creatures, wild animals do NOT make good pets, their instinctive behavior making them dangerous and unpredictable to untrained caretakers. And captive animals released back into the wild by well-meaning animal-lovers may inadvertently harm local wildlife and ecosystems. At this nature presentation by wild-animal experts from the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, find out why following the rule “If you care…leave them there” is the right way to enjoy wildlife. Museum educators share live animals from their collection to educate us all at this fun and informative nature program. Ages eight and older welcome with an adult. Free with admission to the grounds.
Wave Hill House, 2PM

Sun, January 13
The Hudson River Valley hosts an impressive diversity of bird species during the winter months. Explore Wave Hill’s tranquil gardens and woodlands with naturalist Gabriel Willow to observe birds in their winter habitats. Birders of all levels welcome. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult. Severe weather cancels. Free with admission to the grounds; NYC Audubon members enjoy two-for-one admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 9:30AM

Sun, January 13
With Wave Hill’s grounds as inspiration, design your favorite dawn or dusk landscape with the silhouette of a forest, city skyline or bridge. Create the multitude of shades of the twilight sky by blending together different colors of paint and using dyed tissue paper to construct your stunning scenes. Free with admission to the grounds.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Sun, January 13
Enjoy Afternoon Tea in the Mark Twain Room prior to today’s concert in Armor Hall. The CafĂ© at Wave Hill pairs a classic menu with an assortment of green, black and herbal teas. This traditional tea service includes the four classic elements of savory, scones, sweets and tea. The menu, presented by Great Performances, includes an array of tea sandwiches, scones and bite-sized desserts. Afternoon Tea also includes a glass of sparkling wine. Afternoon Tea Service is $36. Wave Hill Members receive a 10% discount. Advance registration is required by calling 718.549.3200 x395 or by, by 5PM on the Thursday prior to the concert.
Wave Hill House, NOON

Sun, January 13
Argus is dedicated to reinvigorating the audience-performer relationship through innovative concerts and diverse repertoire: connecting with and building up a community of engaged listeners is at the core of the quartet’s mission. The Quartet also believes that today’s ensembles can honor the storied chamber music traditions of our past while forging a new path forward. In that spirit, their repertoire includes not just staples of the chamber music canon but also a large number of pieces by living composers. Winner of a 2015 Rome Prize and a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, the Brooklyn-based composer Christopher Cerrone is internationally acclaimed for compositions which range from opera and orchestral to chamber music and electronic. Throughout, his music is characterized by a subtle handling of timbre and resonance, a deep literary fluency, and a flair for multimedia collaborations. Ticket Prices: Adults: $28 (includes admission to the grounds) / Wave Hill Members 10% discount / $12 children ages 8–18, unless otherwise noted. Order tickets online at or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center. For additional information, please call 718.549.3200 x251.
Wave Hill House, 2PM

Sun, January 13
Join a Wave Hill Garden Guide for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.
Meet at Perkins Visitor Center, 2PM

Mon, January 14
Closed to the public.

Tue, January 15
Although digital cameras are designed to shoot in color, many digital photographers choose to transform their color captures into black and white images. Join photographer Benjamin Swett for a series of slide lectures, class discussions, critiques, demonstrations and hands-on practice shooting Wave Hill’s varied winter landscape. Explore ways to use your camera, computer and printer to create stunning black and white images. This three-session series continues Tuesdays, January 22 and 29. $165. Wave Hill Members save 10%. All levels welcome. Registration required, online at or at the Perkins Visitor Center.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

Thu, January 17
Tour artist Nandini Chirimar’s Winter Workspace studio to see her mixed-media work, inspired by Wave Hill’s plants and by elements of Indian and Japanese art. Then, in her workshop, explore Japanese woodblock-carving techniques and practice making prints from your own block using authentic Japanese styles. Materials included. $55. Wave Hill Members save 10%. All levels welcome. Registration required, online at or at the Perkins Visitor Center.
Wave Hill House, 10AM–1PM

A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–4:30PM,  November 1–March 14. Closes 5:30PM, starting March 15.

ADMISSION – $10 adults, $6 students and seniors 65+, $4 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES – Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at
DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

COMPSTAT Report week ending 12/16/2018 - NYC vs. BRONX

Police Department City of New York
CompStat Citywide Report Covering the Week 
12/10/2018 Through 12/16/2018 - Citywide

Crime                    Week to Date             28 Day                  Year to Date*
                             2018 2017 % Chg    2018  2017 % Chg     2018  2017 % Chg
Murder                   5 - 11 -54.5            14  - 22 -36.4             278 -  281 -1.1
Rape                     27 - 25 +8.0            121 - 121 0.0             1,725 - 1,407 +22.6
Robbery             203 - 288 -29.5        918  - 1,162 -21.0     12,346 - 13,407 -7.9
Fel. Assault        323 - 339 -4.7       1,318 - 1,349 -2.3      19,314 - 19,416 -0.5
Burglary             221  - 241 -8.3          843 -  987 -14.6        11,133 - 11,665 -4.6
Gr. Larceny       936  - 862 8.6       3,567  - 3,448 3.5     41,704 -  41,606 +0.2
G.L.A.                 76 - 78 -2.6            343 - 385 -10.9         5,234 - 5,419 -3.4

Transit                65 - 55  +18.2         259 - 215 +20.5    2,439 - 2,370 +2.9
Housing             74 - 87 -14.9           331 - 353 -6.2       4,439 - 4,692 -5.4
Petit Larceny  1,782 - 1,559 +14.3 6,912 - 6,573 +5.2 83,014 - 80,216 +3.5
Misd. Assault   790 - 735 +7.5       3,172 - 3,017 +5.1  41,530 - 39,939 +4.0
Misd. Sex Crimes 77 - 59 +30.5       283 - 277 +2.2       3,776 - 3,470 +8.8
Shooting Vic.       13 - 15 -13.3           61 - 53 +15.1          869 - 895 -2.9
Shooting Inc.       11 - 14 -21.4           51 - 49 +4.1             729 - 753 -3.2

BRONX Borough
Murder                  3 - 2 +50.0              6 - 4 +50.0                85 - 68 +25.0  
Rape                    11 - 9 +22.2             28 - 41 -31.7            370 - 320 +15.6
Robbery              50 - 73 -31.5          239 - 294 -18.7         3,072 - 3,395 -9.5
Fel. Assault        77 - 99 -22.2          359 - 367 -2.2           5,381 - 5,313 +1.3
Burglary             39 - 51 -23.5          153 - 174 -12.1         2,152 - 2,198 -2.1
Gr. Larceny      135 - 130 +3.8         528 - 497 +6.2          6,046 - 6,582 -8.1
G.L.A.                19 - 17 +11.8           75 - 83 -9.6             1,247 - 1,291 -3.4

Transit               10 - 6 +66.7             38 - 28 +35.7              391 - 439 -10.9
Housing            19 - 27 -29.6            78 - 96 -18.8            1,143 - 1,244 -8.1
Petit Larceny   310 - 314 -1.3      1,208 - 1,255 -3.7       14,828 - 14,994 -1.1
Misd. Assault  204 - 179 +14.0      802 - 752 +6.6         10,863 - 10,087 +7.7
Misd. Sex Crimes 12 - 8 +50.0        55 - 37 +48.6               730 - 523 +39.6
Shooting Vic.         8 - 2 +300.0       17 - 11 +54.5               254 - 275 -7.6
Shooting Inc.         6 - 2 +200.0       14 - 10 +40.0               217 - 224 -3.1

If you compare the Bronx individual crime rate to the citywide rates, you will find larger increase and smaller decreases. We hope to have a year end precinct by precinct breakdown. We can tell you that the two largest increases in murder and rape crimes for the first six months of 2018 were in the 40th and 48th precincts in the Bronx. 100 police officers were added to those two precincts alone, however with Yankee Stadium, Orchard Beach, parades, other events, and certain individual police officer assignments, transfers, or retirements that occur year round police manpower is never the amount of officers assigned to the precincts on paper.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A.G. Underwood Announces Settlements Establishing Industry-Wide Standards For Marketing Internet Speeds

Following Precedent-Setting Deal with Charter Communications, Other Major New York Internet Service Providers—Altice, Frontier, RCN, and Verizon—Agree to Reform Speed-Related Marketing and Business Practices 

Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced that four major New York State internet service providers (“ISPs”)—Altice, Frontier, RCN, and Verizon—have entered into agreements that transform how the broadband industry in New York State markets internet speeds. The advertising prohibitions and requirements follow the model set in the Attorney General’s precedent-setting consumer fraud settlement with Charter Communications. Along with Charter, the ISPs entering into agreements today provide service to the vast majority of New York internet subscribers.
The agreements require the ISPs to market internet speeds as “wired,” to substantiate their speed claims with regular speed testing, and to warn consumers that “wireless speeds may vary.” The ISPs must also spell out the relative benefits of speeds and services accurately, ensure that there is sufficient network capacity to deliver advertised content from third party providers, like Netflix, and undertake other reforms designed to improve internet service and make marketing clearer and more accurate.
As more specifically addressed below, today’s agreements also include direct financial commitments by the ISPs to improve network infrastructure and compensate for the harm to certain consumers.
“For years, internet providers marketed ever increasing internet speeds, regardless of whether they could actually deliver. No more. The agreements announced today require internet providers to live up to a basic standard: if you promise services, you better deliver. These reforms establish a new model for how to fairly market internet services to consumers in New York State and around the country,” said Attorney General Underwood.
The agreements are the result of a series of investigations of ISPs across the industry, which uncovered significant failures in how ISPs market and deliver internet speeds. The major New York ISPs often failed to maintain sufficient network capacity to deliver on their speed promises, equipped subscribers with modems and wireless routers that did not reliably deliver the speeds subscribers had paid for under normal conditions, and implied, falsely, that subscribers were likely to access the advertised speeds wirelessly.
The severe misconduct of Charter Communications required an enforcement action. Today’s agreements address the failings of other ISPs, and are designed to avoid more serious issues in the future. Any ISP that fails to adhere to the basic rules articulated in the agreements could face legal consequences.
Broadband Industry Reforms
The following represents the key injunctive terms common across the agreements:
1) Affirmative Advertising Obligations: ISPs are required to (a) describe internet speeds as “wired”; (b) disclose that wireless speeds may vary; and (c) disclose the factors that might lead actual experience to vary, including based on the number of users and device limitations.
2) Substantiating Internet Speeds: ISPs must substantiate internet speeds using an industry-accepted testing methodology, and discontinue any speed plan that cannot be substantiated.
3) Advertising prohibitions: ISPs are prohibited from making unsubstantiated claims about (a) the speed required for particular internet activities, like streaming; (b) the reliability of the internet service (e.g., no buffering, no slowdowns); or (c) the availability of the promised speed over WiFi.
ISPs are also prohibited from describing internet speeds as “consistent” without fully satisfying the FCC Consistent Speed Metric and must make commercially reasonable efforts to deliver access to all online content and services featured in its advertisements. 
4) Sales and Customer Service Training: ISPs must train customer service representatives and other employees to inform subscribers about the factors that affect internet speeds. Altice, RCN, and Verizon must also maintain a video on their websites to educate subscribers about various factors limiting internet speeds over WiFi.
5) Equipment Reforms: Altice, RCN, and Verizon are required to: (a) provide subscribers with equipment capable of delivering the advertised speed under typical network conditions when they commence service; (b) promptly offer to ship or install free replacements to all subscribers with inadequate equipment via at least three different contact methods; and (c) implement rules to prevent subscribers from initiating or upgrading service without proper equipment for the chosen speed tiers. 
Specific Terms for Other ISPs
Frontier: Frontier communications is required to spend no less than an additional $25 million to upgrade its network infrastructure upstate to relieve congestion and improve service. Frontier also agreed to a series of specific requirements, including the obligation to advertise speeds as a range and to refund half the future fees paid by any customer who is not capable of receiving 100% of the speed they were told they would get.
Altice: Altice is required to provide restitution of $5 million to subscribers to compensate for the company’s failure to supply adequate modems and routers, and to reliably deliver premium speed tiers.
Altice is the new company name for Cablevision.

A.G. Underwood And Acting Tax Commissioner Manion Announce Record $330 Million Settlement With Sprint In Groundbreaking False Claims Act Litigation Involving Unpaid Sales Tax

Despite Knowing What the Tax Law Required, Sprint Decided Not to Comply
Largest-Ever Recovery in a Single-State False Claims Act Lawsuit
  Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and Acting Tax Commissioner Nonie Manion  announced a record-breaking $330 million settlement of a False Claims Act lawsuit filed by the Attorney General against Sprint, the cell phone carrier, and some of its subsidiaries. The lawsuit – People v. Sprint Communications, Inc. et al., Index No. 103917/2011 (New York County Supreme Court) – alleged that for nearly a decade Sprint knowingly failed to collect and remit more than $100 million in state and local sales taxes owed on its flat-rate wireless calling plans sold to New Yorkers. The $330 million recovery is not only the largest-ever recovery by the New York Attorney General resulting from an action filed under the New York False Claims Act, but it is the largest-ever recovery by a single state in an action brought under a state false claims act.
“Sprint knew exactly how New York sales tax law applied to its plans – yet for years the company flagrantly broke the law, cheating the state and its localities out of tax dollars that should have been invested in our communities,” said Attorney General Underwood. “Now, Sprint will pay the price with this record-setting settlement. This should serve as a clear reminder that the New York False Claims Act protects New Yorkers from companies that attempt to flout their obligations under New York tax law.”
The $330 million settlement announced today resolves this tax enforcement action under the New York False Claims Act brought by the Attorney General. At least twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have passed False Claims Acts, laws which allow whistleblowers and the government to recover treble damages from companies or individuals that defraud the government. However, only the New York False Claims Act broadly covers all types of tax fraud.
Sprint’s decision not to comply with New York sales tax law for nearly a decade harmed not just the State of New York, but also every county, city, town, village, and school district in New York that imposes a sales tax. Indeed, for many counties, sales tax revenue is the largest portion of county revenue. A substantial portion of today’s $330 million settlement has already been distributed to the localities who were directly harmed by Sprint’s conduct.
“By blatantly understating the amount of sales tax owed to the tune of $100 million, Sprint violated the trust of its customers and deprived communities across New York State of revenue needed for vital services,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Nonie Manion. “We applaud the whistleblower who brought this injustice to light, and our colleagues at the Attorney General’s Office who worked closely with us on the investigation that led to this record-setting settlement of $330 million.”
The investigation leading to this settlement began with a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the New York False Claims Act. The Attorney General appreciates the whistleblower’s provision of information and assistance in this investigation. The whistleblower will receive $62.7 million, as the New York False Claims Act entitles whistleblowers who report fraud against the government to a specific share of the recovery.
After the whistleblower filed its lawsuit in March 2011, the Attorney General’s office, working closely with the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance, conducted an extensive investigation into Sprint’s conduct and in April 2012 filed a civil enforcement action against Sprint and certain of its subsidiaries. Since then, the New York Supreme Court, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department, and the New York Court of Appeals have all issued opinions rejecting Sprint’s attempts to dismiss this lawsuit.
Since August 2002, the tax provision at issue in this lawsuit, New York Tax Law § 1105(b)(2), has imposed a sales tax on all wireless voice services that are sold for a fixed periodic charge, without differentiating between intrastate or interstate and international voice calls. The New York Court of Appeals has explicitly held that this provision is unambiguous.
Sprint and its subsidiaries sold wireless calling plans to New York customers. Some of those wireless calling plans permitted a customer to use up to a specified number of minutes of voice-only calling for a flat-rate monthly charge (for example, 500 minutes of calling for $50), and those plans did not distinguish between intrastate and interstate calls.
The Attorney General’s investigation found that in early 2002, Sprint and the other major cell phone carriers lobbied the Tax Department in connection with the enactment of Tax Law § 1105(b)(2), which ultimately took effect in August 2002. The Attorney General’s investigation found that Sprint’s Regional Director for State and Local Government Affairs played a lead role in those lobbying efforts on the industry’s behalf. The Attorney General’s investigation also found that as part of those lobbying efforts, in spring 2002 that same in-house Sprint lobbyist agreed in writing that the soon-to-be-enacted Tax Law § 1105(b)(2) would maintain existing sales tax revenue payments for “bucket” plans (i.e., wireless calling plans which provided a fixed amount of voice calls for a fixed price) by imposing sales tax on those plans without regard to whether the calls were interstate or intrastate. That is exactly what Tax Law § 1105(b)(2) unambiguously did.
In addition, the Tax Department issued a guidance in 2002 that correctly explained the newly enacted Tax Law § 1105(b)(2) and provided the following example: “Example #1: Mr. Smith buys a cellular calling plan from a home service provider which includes up to 2,500 minutes of use for a flat-rate charge of $49.95 per month. The contract provides that additional charges will apply for calling minutes that exceed the minutes allowed under the plan. In November 2002, Mr. Smith does not exceed the calling minutes allowed under the plan, and is charged $49.95 for the month. Such charge is subject to sales tax under section 1105(b)(2) of the Tax Law, regardless of whether the calls made under the plan were intrastate, interstate, or international calls.”
The Attorney General’s investigation found that Sprint’s in-house tax lawyers knew of the lobbying efforts by Sprint’s in-house and external lobbyists regarding Tax Law § 1105(b)(2), that they reviewed both the unambiguous language of Tax Law § 1105(b)(2) and the clear Tax Department guidance in 2002, and that they were aware that the entire portion of a flat-rate charge attributable to wireless voice calls is subject to sales tax under Tax Law § 1105(b)(2), regardless of whether the wireless calls made under the plan were intrastate, interstate, or international calls.
However, even though Sprint’s in-house tax lawyers and lobbyists knew what Tax Law § 1105(b)(2) required, the Attorney General’s investigation found that in 2005, Sprint decided to violate New York law by failing to collect and remit state and local sales tax on the portion of a flat-rate charge for a wireless calling plan that Sprint arbitrarily deemed to be for interstate calls. Sprint continued to violate the law even after the Attorney General’s investigation began and even after the Attorney General filed this lawsuit. It was not until May 2014 that Sprint finally agreed to comply with the law.
Attorney General Underwood expresses her deep gratitude to the auditors, attorneys, and other staff at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their critical contributions to this case.

Comptroller Stringer Audit Reveals DOHMH Skipped Mandatory Inspections at Hundreds of Child Care Centers

73 centers did not receive either of two required annual inspections in FY17
Over half of centers did not receive one of the two required annual inspections in FY17
  New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released a troubling new audit revealing that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) failed to conduct required inspections of over half of the child care centers that served the City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program in Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17).  Under its own rules, DOHMH is supposed to conduct two types of inspections each year at each center — one by an Early Childhood Education Consultant (ECEC), focused on staffing and curriculum, and another by a Public Health Sanitarian (PHS), focused on physical conditions.  Both types are called “initial inspections,” which trigger further investigation if deficiencies are found. Yet the audit uncovered that in FY17, DOHMH skipped both of those inspections at 73 centers and that hundreds of other centers received just one initial inspection, in direct violation of DOHMH protocols.
“For the safety and well-being of our children, DOHMH’s own rules require it to comprehensively inspect every child care center at least twice every year.  Skipping inspections at hundreds of child care centers is unacceptable,” said Comptroller Stringer.“As a parent of young children, I find this audit extremely disturbing. As Comptroller, what’s even more alarming is that DOHMH refuses to acknowledge the problem and fix it. When it comes to protecting our city’s children, we cannot allow any agency to deny the facts.”
The Comptroller’s audit investigated whether initial inspections—DOHMH’s term for comprehensive annual inspections—were conducted across the City’s 1,035 group child care centers serving the UPK program in FY17.
Findings from the audit include:
Records Show 73 Centers Did Not Receive an Initial Inspection in FY17
  • In a review of DOHMH records, auditors found that 73 group child care centers did not receive an initial inspection by a PHS or an ECEC during FY17.
  • 53 of the 73 uninspected centers had previously been issued 324 violations in the preceding year – ranging from 1 violation per center to 21 and including:
  • 41 violations classified as public health hazards (imminent threat to health and safety, needing immediate attention); and
  • 116 classified as critical (serious violations needing correction within 14 days).
  • DOHMH reported in its response to the audit that it conducted what it refers to as monitoring and compliance inspections at all of the centers where violations were cited or for which complaints were received. Nevertheless, under DOHMH’s protocols and according to its staff, monitoring and compliance inspections are not substitutes for the two mandatory initial inspections. As noted in the audit report, DOHMH’s “initial inspections” are complete program reviews to determine whether child care centers are in compliance with the City Health Code. As such, they are more comprehensive than compliance and monitoring inspections, which focus on specific issues raised by prior inspections, complaints, or administrative actions.
Hundreds of Centers Failed to Receive Required Inspections
DOHMH records show that during FY17, a total of 531 of the 1,035 audited group child care centers failed to receive at least one required inspection, in violation of DOHMH protocol. Specifically, in addition to the 73 centers that received no initial inspection:
  • 312 centers did not receive an inspection from an Early Childhood Education Consultant; and
  • 146 centers did not receive an inspection from a Public Health Sanitarian.
  • A further review of DOHMH inspection records for Fiscal Years 2015 through 2017 revealed a widespread and long-standing lack of oversight as DOHMH failed to perform all inspections at between 48 and 60 percent of audited centers in each year.
Fiscal Year Number of Total Centers Inspected Number of Centers Lacking Either a PHS or an ECEC Inspection Percentage of Centers Lacking Either a PHS or an ECEC Inspection
FY 2017 958 458 48.00%
FY 2016 927 496 54.00%
FY 2015 933 561 60.00%

Deficient Oversight at DOHMH
Although DOHMH claimed that its information system enabled its supervisors to track inspections across multiple child care centers, DOHMH supervisors interviewed during the audit said that they were unfamiliar with the system’s tracking functions and generally did not use them. After the auditors informed the agency, DOHMH officials developed a new reporting system which, though improved, still lacks necessary information and is effectively bypassed by supervisors who instead continue to create their own Excel spreadsheets to attempt to track inspections of the centers they oversee.
Auditors also found that DOHMH employed just 18 PHS staff and 18 ECEC staff to inspect roughly 2,749 group child care and school-based child care centers – and just seven supervisors responsible for overseeing inspections citywide. Moreover, inspectors and supervisors were concerned not just about understaffing but about the lack of consistent necessary training. In each borough, staffing levels breaks down as follows:
Borough Number of GCC Centers Number of School Based Child Care Centers Number of PHS staff Number of ECEC staff Number of PHS Supervisors Number of ECEC Supervisors
Brooklyn 816 224 6 5 2 1
Manhattan and Staten Island 628 123 5 4 1 1
Queens 494 91 4 5 1
Bronx 312 61 3 4 1
TOTAL 2250 499 18 18 7
These combined deficiencies weaken DOHMH’s ability to ensure that inspections are conducted in accordance with agency guidelines and increase the risk that centers with non-compliant, potentially hazardous conditions were allowed to operate without those conditions being corrected.
In response to these deeply concerning findings, the Comptroller called on DOHMH to immediately inspect the 73 centers auditors uncovered – and further inspect every single center that did not receive an initial inspection within the last three years. Additionally, the Comptroller recommended:
  • DOHMH should reform its inspection tracking protocol and overhaul its reporting mechanism to ensure that reports and oversight processes do not allow initial inspections to be skipped or records to go missing.
  • DOHMH should ensure that supervisors who require accurate and adequate management reports have input in the overhaul.
  • DOHMH should determine the adequacy of its staffing in relation to the number of child care centers it oversees and adjust staffing levels as warranted.
  • DOHMH should conduct periodic surveys of its staff and solicit feedback regarding the training curriculum so that it can provide relevant training to its staff as the agency deem appropriate.
This is the third audit Comptroller Stringer has conducted of DOHMH’s oversight of group child care centers, and the third in which notable deficiencies were found.
  • A 2016 audit of DOHMH’s permitting of Group Child/Day Care (GDC) providers found that DOHMH had not ensured that all of the GDCs had tested the water at their facilities for lead, as required by the City Health Code, and, even more alarming, that management instructed staff to enter into a DOHMH computer system an inaccurate statement that a report of a water lead test with acceptable results had been received in cases where no such test had been performed, or where there was no evidence that an acceptable result had been reported.
  • In a 2018 audit of DOHMH’s follow-up on violations found in Group Day Care Centers, auditors found that:
    • DOHMH’s weak controls decreased its ability to ensure that interim corrective actions were appropriately implemented by the GDCs to protect the children’s health and welfare pending implementation of permanent corrective actions. For example, auditors reviewed all 1,892 Public Health Hazard-related citations issued between February 1, 2016 and February 23, 2017 and found that the records for 19 percent—360 citations—had seemingly meaningless entries (e.g., punctuation marks with no other text, cryptic entries such as “NULL” and “N/A”) in the Interim Control field.
    • Further, the audit found that in some instances DOHMH lacked evidence that the actions the centers took to correct violations were adequate. Specifically, in a sample of 73 citations that were cleared, auditors found insufficient evidence that the violations relating to approximately one-fifth of them were adequately corrected.


50 new charging stations will power city government fleet vehicles using sunlight

  The de Blasio Administration announced the deployment of 50 solar-powered charging stations across the five boroughs that will power New York City’s growing fleet of electric government vehicles. Known as solar carports, each station will charge vehicles using sunlight. These new carports, combined with 37 existing solar carports across the five boroughs, will give New York City the largest network of solar-powered electric vehicle chargers in the country.

“New York City is proud to be leading the fight against climate change by investing in solar energy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “With these new solar charging stations, we are taking a step further toward making our City fleet fully dependent on renewable energy.”

“As Washington attempts to roll back vehicle emissions standards, New York City is deploying electric vehicles and powering them using nothing but sunlight,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “By building the largest network of solar charging stations, we are showing what cities can do to take the lead.”

“New York City is rising to the challenge of creating a 21st century, low-carbon transportation network that gives every New Yorker clean, safe, and healthy ways to get where they need to go,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Our growing inventory of solar carports is a perfect example of how we are harnessing cutting-edge sustainable design for our city and our planet.”

Each carport can recharge up to three electric vehicles daily. In addition, the City currently operates the largest electric vehicle fleet charging network in the country, with 529 sites across the five boroughs. The City aims to add at least 100 additional chargers in the next two years. Two of those carports are slated to be installed on the campus of New York City schools, to help power electric vehicles used for student driver education. The city is investing $3.3 million in these charging stations, which will be fully installed by spring 2019.

New York City has the largest fleet of electric vehicles of any municipal government in the country, an initiative that’s part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Clean Fleet plan. The plan, announced in December 2015, calls for the City to have 2,000 on-road electric vehicles by 2025.  To date, the City has more than 1,700 electric vehicles in use across 28 of its agencies.

The full network of solar chargers will annually power fleet vehicles over 650,000 miles of emissions-free driving. These new solar carports will also enable zero emissions at the vehicle tailpipe and in the production of the energy.  Each carport will offset half its cost through gasoline savings over its expected lifespan. In addition, these units offer critical emergency resiliency, serving as backup and mobile solar power generators and storage units in case of power loss or a storm emergency. The units require no installation of any type and can be moved by the City’s flatbed tow trucks.  

“Solar powered electric vehicle carports offer a vision of a zero-emissions transport future, zero emissions at the vehicle tailpipe and in the production of the energy,” said Keith Kerman, DCAS Deputy Commissioner and NYC Chief Fleet Officer.  “NYC Fleet can produce its own clean solar power, keeping our electric fleet on the road free of fossil fuels and without taxing the electric grid.” 


It is to bad that the de Blasio administration has not listed the sites of all the Solar-powered Charging Stations, because once again the Bronx must have been short changed by the de Blasio administration.