Halloran mum on sanitation sources
by Lisa A. Fraser
Jan 04, 2011 | 1707 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilman Dan Halloran of Whitestone has been catapulted into the spotlight after he reported last Friday that three Department of Sanitation workers and two supervisors from the Department of Transportation approached him in confidence, informing him of a deliberate ordered slowdown of workers to cleaning the snow-covered streets in the outer boroughs, particularly Queens and Brooklyn.

Now, facing pressure to reveal the sources, Halloran is remaining true to his word that he will honor the workers’ confidentiality.

“In spite of pressure from many parties, I have kept confident the names of the five workers who approached me about the ‘slowdown’ in the days after the snowstorm,” he said in a statement released on Monday. “My decision is one of principle. The sources asked for confidence.”

The workers told Halloran that they were told to skip streets and not to worry if streets weren’t cleaned. The slowdown was staged in protest to recent budget cuts to the department.

“Only a small number of DSNY supervisors were behind the slowdown. The vast majority of workers did their jobs, and they should be commended,” Halloran said. “They are rightly outraged, but they should be mad at their colleagues who put personal grudges over their obligations to New Yorkers.”

According to Halloran, the two Transportation supervisors who approached him are in contact with the city’s Department of Investigation, which is investigating the slowdown after former Governor David Paterson called for an investigation into the allegations.

He hopes that their names are kept in confidence, and he is sticking to the principle. “The sources asked for confidence. I agreed, and I am a man of my word,” he said. “Would anyone ask questions about a reporter keeping a vulnerable source confidential?”

State Senator Tony Avella initiated several Freedom of Information (FOIL) requests to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Sanitation Department and other city agencies to learn why the city was not better prepared to deal with the storm.

Keith Mellis, a spokesman for the Department of Sanitation said that employees have been working hard 12 hours a day - and in some cases 14 hours - while getting paid for overtime.

He also stated that there is no unrest among workers because of the budget cuts, but that they are concerned.

The head of the Uniformed Sanitation Men's Association, Harry Nespoli, denied the allegations of a systematic slowdown and the Department of Sanitation’s commissioner also denied any such inaction taken by workers.

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