State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park) showcased how he would be every bit as tough a teacher as he is a lawmakers after failing seven city and state agencies in his year-end report card on how these agencies deals with him as a representative of his constituents in Queens.
Grades are given based on the agency’s performance, management, and, above all else, responsiveness to New Yorkers. As the grades show, the best way to earn a good grade is to respect and provide answers to the residents of New York for whom you work.
Below is the report card:
Although receiving a good grade is quite easy, there were plenty of agencies who, through their work, were able to achieve an F, or, in the Mayor’s case, a double F.
· Department of Buildings (DOB): F.
o DOB is still not responsive to illegal or out of character construction. Clearly, DOB does not have sufficient staff to timely respond to community complaints.
· Department of Transportation (DOT): D.
o The reason DOT gets this grade is due to their bureaucratic approach to policy issues and their lack of a timely response to community concerns. The bike lane on Northern Boulevard is example number one.
· Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR): F.
o Everyone knows that Senator Avella is a huge proponent of parks and preserving parkland. Unfortunately, DPR’s performance this year leaves Queens residents wanting more. DPR’s handling of the trees and sidewalks repair program, lack of park maintenance, and their total inability to do capital construction is what secured this failing grade for DPR. Add all that up and include the fact that an absentee landlord serves as Parks Commissioner and you have the perfect recipe for one of the worst agencies.
· NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC): F.
o The only State agency to appear in the failing section of this year’s scorecard, DEC was on their way towards receiving an A but their handling of the Whitestone Waterpointe development tanked their rating all the way to an F.
· Mayor’s Office: DOUBLE F.
o The Mayor’s Office receives a double F for a number of reasons. Most notably, in the four years that Mayor de Blasio has been in office, he and his office have been absolutely non-responsive. The Mayor has yet to send a personal response to the Senator or even acknowledge most issues that Queens residents raise on a daily basis.
· Human Resources Administration (HRA): F.
o Prior to this year, HRA was very responsive to the needs of New Yorkers. However, this year responses are few and far between for residents who are in desperate need of assistance.
· Department of Homeless Services (DHS): F.
o This F needs no explanation.
· NYC Department of Consumer Affairs: F.
o “Totally worthless.”
It is not a failing grade but there is a lot of room for improvement for the agencies in this section.
· NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS): B.
o DFS needs to improve their timeliness but would otherwise get an A.
· New York Police Department (NYPD): C.
o The NYPD lands here because of their less than stellar handling of quality of life issues in the City. Although they do respond to most complaints, they usually lack a formal response.
· NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP): C.
o DEP has shown willingness to compromise on their bioswales program in order to meet the needs of the community but their failure to provide a full opt-out has left the community and Senator Avella with a bad taste in their mouths. Additionally, DEP’s responsiveness is still below par.
· NYC Department of Finance (DOF): C.
o DOF’s lack of timely and concise, coherent responses that often consist of conflicting language has earned DOF a C.
· NYS Department of Health: C.
o Serious lack of timely responses gets them a C.
Congratulations to the agencies who earned these high marks. Many need no explanation.
· NYC Fire Department (FDNY): A.
o FDNY is very responsive in terms of constituent issues even on issues where they would not necessarily have jurisdiction.
· Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH): A.
o DHMH has proven to be very responsive to local complaints.
· Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD): A.
· NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets: A.
· NYC Department of Sanitation: A.
· Governor & Governor’s Office: A.
Avella noted that these grades are for the leadership and intergovernmental affairs divisions of these agencies and in no way reflects his views of the rank and file employees who go out each and every day to perform difficult and often times dangerous jobs in service to their City.
Each one of those employees deserves a round of applause, he said.