A former Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at New York City Health + Hospitals was slapped with a $9,000 fine for helping his partner receive a certification from a private software company that had a $300-million contract with the city.
Norberto Robles, who held that position from 2010 to 2015, contacted the executive vice-president of the electronic medical records storage firm, Epic Systems Corporation, to help his partner—a non-H+H employee—be enrolled in the same certification course required to use the program that he planned to take. He also asked two of his employees to help his girlfriend obtain an H+H ID card, which she needed to enter the agency’s headquarters, according to the city Conflicts of Interest Board. Because Mr. Robles used his position multiple times in 2014 to help her take the certification exam, including arranging for her to use H+H office space and computer terminals, the COIB imposed the financial penalty.
Wearing 2 Hats Costs $3G
It also settled with another Health + Hospitals employee, in this case for her work at a company that held contracts with multiple city agencies. In addition to her job as a Health Program Planner, Larisa Correa worked as a mental-health clinician at the Young Adult Institute, which offers services for people with developmental disabilities and receives funding from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Education and Department of Social Services. Conflicts-of-interest law prohibits public servants from serving at an organization that is in business with the city.
Additionally, Ms. Correa, who was on the job for more than 11 years, misused city time and resources by inappropriately using her H+H computer to log onto the Internet 749 times between January and August 2016, according to the Board. She agreed to pay a $3,000 fine.
The board also settled with Anne Swern, who was recently elected a Brooklyn Civil Court Judge, for working while on the clock to get her then-boss Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes re-elected. Ms. Swern, who in 2013 was a First Assistant District Attorney, used her work computer and email account to assist with the election, including sending emails regarding fundraising efforts and campaign contributions. In March, Mr. Hynes agreed to a $40,000 settlement with the Board for using his employees as part of his unsuccessful campaign, the largest fine in COIB history.
E-Z Pass Abuser
In another settlement, a former Telecommunications Associate at the Department of Sanitation got busted for using his job’s E-Z Pass 500 times to commute to and from work. Frank Pinto, who began working at the agency in 2007, used his city vehicle to travel between his home and office, but was responsible for paying the tolls for such trips. Between 2013 and 2014, he incurred 534 charges on the E-Z Pass, totaling $3,211. Because he never reimbursed the agency, the board fined him $5,000 for the personal trips.
Finally, the COIB fined former Architect II Olasunkanmi Dada $1,250 for sending emails related to his private architectural business during work hours. Mr. Dada, who worked at the Housing Authority for 17 years, exchanged 48 emails and edited a project proposal related to his side business on a NYCHA computer between 2015 and 2017.
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