Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DeBlasio doesn't care about misuse of city resources

From the Daily News:

One of the top city jail officials busted for misusing a city car — an offense that was shrugged off by the mayor — made thousands of dollars in political donations to Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaigns.

Jeff Thamkittikasem, 41, drove the department-owned car to a friend’s house on Virginia’s Chesapeake coast for a birthday party last year, according to the Department of Investigation.

Thamkittikasem, who serves as chief of staff to Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte, donated $8,225 to de Blasio’s mayoral campaign in 2013. At that time, he was president of a Washington, D.C.-based firm, Sentinel Strategy and Policy Consulting.

The donation exceeded the legal donor limit, so the campaign had to return $1,000.

On Monday, City Hall defended Thamkittikasem. “Jeff took a substantial pay cut from the private sector in order to take on one of the most challenging responsibilities in city government,” said mayoral spokeswoman Natalie Grybauskas.

He’s stayed politically active since joining the city payroll — donating a total of $2,175 toward de Blasio's re-election, records show.

As for his use of the car, Thamkittikasem told probers he answered phone calls and emails while out of town in 2016 and considered it the equivalent of being at work.

He also used the car to drive to the Washington, D.C., area to deal with a problem with a residence he owns there, he told investigators. And he drove his parents to and from the airport with the car, even though he specifically told Ponte he was off duty during those periods.


Res Ipsa said...

He was one of 21 senior officials found too be using city vehicles for personal reasons---including the DOC Commissioner--- and the mayor turned a blind eye. Many rank and file employees have been disciplined and/or terminated for this behavior but when management does it, it's ok. One rule for the serfs, one for the lords.

Anonymous said...

Well, how does the Mayor himself travel from Gracie Mansion to his Brooklyn Heights gym?

Anonymous said...

There looks to be some abuse in several instances cited here.

However, we are now in an ever-tethered work environment where employees are expected to perform at least some work -even in their off hours.

If an employee is expected to answer calls and e-mails while on their own time, it is only fair that they receive some form of compensation. If this requires them to actually get to some destination the question arises whether they should be allowed to use a city-issued vehicle, or be compensated for using their own.

Rob in Manhattan (and Astoria this Sunday night).

JQ LLC said...


that's not what Ponte and his derelict underling here did. They just found lame loopholes to exploit.

but watch out if you are the lowest tier city worker doing something innocuous like moving furniture for your grandmother or going to a bodega to buy groceries after work.

Anonymous said...

An employee can answer calls and emails on the apple or Microsoft phone provided by the City. Since when does a person need a vehicle to answer calls and emails?

Res Ipsa said...

The City rules are clear. Employees can not use City vehicles for private purposes. Trips to Maine are therefore out. The Commissioner wasn't working during scheduled vacation time. He was on the clock during business hours and just decided that he was going to work from a different location. Lower staff can't choose their work locations, why should this guy?

The way it works for non-union managerial employees is that if you are scheduled sick or on vacation and you have some work emergency come up, and you have to respond, too bad. You either forfeit the time, or you reschedule the time off. You are basically on the clock until work is done. But there's no such thing as "I worked from home so I don't have to go to the office today."

The private sector is way more flexible and sensible about these things (at least in some white collar jobs). The City hasn't figured it our yet. As long as these are the rules, this guy and his 21 staff should be disciplined accordingly.

Anonymous said...

While I can't stand DuhBlaz I would have to point out that is the culture of politics and was the same under every official at every level. Bloomberg, Guiliani, Dinkins, Koch, all assembly and council and congress members.

Thievery is a fine art with this class.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov said...

Who, whom?

r said...

If he was a low ranking city employee. he would be fired.

Anonymous said...

You know the saying, " Money talks -- Bullshit Walks." That's Bill's campaign slogan.

Anonymous said...

If he had freckles and blond hair, he'd be fired.

Anonymous said...

This seems so minor an offense as to be petty to complain about it. How much car depreciation could this have cost over all?

Anonymous said...

Why is it only a minor/petty offense when the commissioner and senior staff do it? For anyone else, there is steep fines, suspensions, and/or termination.

Everyone should be treated equally for these infractions. The fact that the mayor would defend this disparate treatment is just a further sign of his arrogance and ineptitude.

Anonymous said...

"This seems so minor an offense as to be petty to complain about it. How much car depreciation could this have cost over all?"... Car depreciation, wear on tires, City's gasoline, increased chance of accident with extra miles and time the car could be used by another employee who is on the job.

Anonymous said...

'This seems so minor an offense as to be petty to complain about it. How much car depreciation could this have cost over all?'

Are you serious? This must have been written by a troll to get people angry.

What don't you see:

1. Theft of service (the cost of a rental or his own car)
2. What if he was in an accident? They could sue the owner of the car (NY City) for big bucks. We know DeBlasio doesn't fight these!
3. It is called STEALING. Does no one recognize it anymore?
4. Answering calls and emails isn't the same as being 'on duty'. If he was 'on duty' he shouldn't be so far from the city.
5. Was he obligated to come to work if there was an emergency? If not, not 'on duty'. No Daily Snooze reported asked that.
6. I bet he took the expenses off on his taxes.
7. Left a high paying job in the private sector? To get a super high paying gig in the free for all of sleazy politics.
8. He gave too much to DeBlasio and had to give some back? Can't even keep track of that?

(sarc) said...

The founders had a simple solution.

Tar and Feathers would work quite well back in the day...

Anonymous said...

Ron is a facetious troll. Don't take him seriously.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
This seems so minor an offense as to be petty to complain about it. How much car depreciation could this have cost over all?

In the private sector you cannot give someone a car for the purpose of driving to work; its a taxable benefit. This is also why you cannot deduct "commuting" expenses on your taxes.

ron s said...

This seemingly small case, by itself, is reason to know that the DeBlasio administration is corrupt and full of shit. There is no defense for a highly paid staff member, who both knows better and is advised ahead of time about the rules, to blatantly steal from the City. To defend him is totally wrong.
DeB must go. He is a hypocritical asshole.