MIDTOWN — Division of Correction head Joseph Ponte and different government employees misused their metropolis-offered automobiles final yr, racking up hundreds of dollars in bills for private journeys as distant as Maine and Virginia, in accordance with a Division of Investigation report launched Friday.
The commissioner and as much as 25 employees members used their automobiles to make the journeys or transport relations, which violates metropolis coverage proscribing take-residence automobiles from “private actions, apart from required relaxation durations, meals, and temporary stops incidental to the conduct of official Metropolis enterprise,” the DOI report said.
Mayor Invoice de Blasio insisted on his radio present with Brian Lehrer on WNYC Friday that Commissioner Ponte was “instructed” by inner employees that he might use his car for some private use — however the mayor was instantly slapped by DOI Commissioner Mark Peters who launched a press release inside minutes saying that Metropolis Corridor was “misinformed” concerning the case.
“Our investigation conclusively demonstrated that Commissioner Ponte and others didn’t obtain official ‘recommendation’ that they might use their automobiles for private journeys out of state,” Peters stated in a press release.
“Certainly, one of many senior employees was beforehand fined by COIB for associated conduct. There could be no protection of this conduct and Metropolis Corridor harms authorities integrity by even making an attempt. No matter Metropolis Corridor’s response, our unbiased investigation will proceed.”
Ponte racked up $1,043.forty four in out-of-state fuel costs and $746.fifty six in E-Z Move bills after driving 18,500 miles for non-metropolis enterprise journeys, in accordance with the DOI.
The investigation discovered that 21 DOC staff used their automobiles to journey to places together with Maine, Cape Cod, the Mohegan Solar on line casino, coastal Virginia and sixteen journeys to purchasing retailers like Woodbury Commons
DOC spokesman Peter Thorne stated such disregard for metropolis guidelines have been an “inadvertent misunderstanding” and their coverage relating to automobiles would change.“Commissioner Ponte and his senior employees are on name all day, all night time, all yr. Regardless of the necessity for them to be away from…