Gomes chosen as new Community Board 9 district manager
by Patrick Kearns
Mar 04, 2015 | 22 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Community Board 9 ended the process of selecting a new district manager with the hiring of longtime administrative employee Lisa Gomes by a 19-15 vote at a March 3rd special meeting at Queens Borough Hall. Gomes had previously been part of the board’s administrative staff, serving as the interim district manager since the retirement of Mary Ann Carey last year. Prior to that she was the board’s office manager/community associate and youth coordinator. She was one of three finalists, which included Scott Wolff, a director of constituent services for Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and James McClelland, a seasoned political aide who served as chief of staff for two different elected officials. Borough President Melina Katz was not pleased with the board’s decision to proceed with the process of filling the vacancy and expressed her dissatisfaction in a statement prior to the meeting. Katz asked the board to delay the hiring until at least April, after which new members of the board would be appointed and begin their new terms. “It’s perplexing at best as to why Community Board 9 feels it is absolutely necessary to steamroll this important decision upon a board that may or may not be the same in 28 days,” Katz said in a statement. She continued, “Over six months have lapsed since the former district manager tendered her resignation. The length of time it has taken the Board to move this forward demonstrates the ongoing governance issues, which have been prevalent on Community Board 9. At this point, the prudent thing for the board to do in the interest of the community at large would have been to pause the process for merely a month until the new terms begin.” According to the statement, over half of the members’ current terms are set to expire at the end of the month, including the tenure of board chairman Ralph Gonzalez, who has announced he will not seek re-election. There is guaranteed to be at least some, even if minor, turnover on the board. In the statement, Katz also noted that she wrote the community board a letter dated February 23 that urged the board members to postpone the selection until after April. “April 1 starts a new session of CB9 and given there are 29 board members whose current terms expire on March 31, it makes more sense that the process be postponed so that newly appointed board members can participate in this important decision,” a letter from Katz that was sent to the board offices read. Board members are appointed by the borough president’s office, as well as local City Council members. The decision also raises further questions about how the public should perceive the board’s actions, said Katz. “Public confidence in how community boards operate is not something to be dismissed by its leadership,” she said. “Such insistence on proceeding despite newspaper accounts questioning the process does nothing to help assuage the perception of conflicts at play in Community Board 9, and warrants a higher level of scrutiny. “Such disregard for the serious questions and concerns raised by the public about this search and selection process is deeply disappointing and fully noted,” she added. According to public records, Gomes was making just over $50,000 (specifically her salary was $55,946 in 2014) annually in her previous position. Carey, prior to her 2014 retirement, was being paid $94,665 annually. Gomes did not return a request for comment. CB9’s next scheduled meeting is March 10 at 7:45 p.m., at Majestic Marquise, 88-03 101st Avenue, in Ozone Park.
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More education, less surveillance.
Mar 04, 2015 | 32 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There’s an inherent sense of “not in my backyard,” when it comes to matters of national security. It’s enough to watch a war take place on television or through breaking news push notifications on a smart phone, but when news breaks close to home of men living in our communities willing to commit unspeakable acts of terror at home or abroad, it’s time we pay close attention. There’s a right way and a wrong way and it starts by lending a hand to a community that can be marginalized pretty quickly. It’s not about increased police presence or surveillance, it’s about harboring an atmosphere of trust and constant education. Our community leaders and elected officials need to be harbingers of good. Erecting a pen of constant monitoring will further create distrust and could breed hatred. That hate isn’t coming from the communities at large, but a select group, often via social media and other online channels. Imagine moving to a county where you don’t know more than a handful of people that speak and read and write the way that you do. You’re naturally drawn to items of comfort, like a McDonalds. For many immigrants, communities are now available online that can skew and sway their way they are thinking. For some of these young men – and that could be the case with the three Brooklyn men that were arrested after allegedly trying to join ISIL in Syria – it’s a desperate grab at something to relate to. The money allocated for education needs to be spent wisely. Community and religious leaders should have a large input on how that money is spent. It’s an arduous task for a white Christian from Bayside to tell a mosque-leader in Sheepshead Bay how to educate the community’s youth. Successful leaders should be tasked with that education, as they themselves are shining examples of how to become a productive and successful part of American society. It’s easy to try and allow the police to handle any potential problems; after all, the two men that wanted to join ISIL and the man that allegedly helped them broke the law. But more importantly, the community needs to work together to prevent it from happening again.
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Do You Have to Pay On-Call Employees for Their Time On-Call?
by cjleclaire
 Stephen Hans Blog
Mar 04, 2015 | 71 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Author: Stephen D. Hans

When you hire certain employees for on-call services, questions often arise about wages and hours.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) addresses the issue of on-call employees and when they get paid for their time along with when they do not.

Whether the employee has to stay on the work premises during the on-call work period influences whether the worker gets paid for the hours spent on call. The FLSA views the on-premises restriction as the determining factor that the worker must be paid. It does not matter whether the worker is reading a book, chatting on the phone or playing a video game. The factor of being required to stay on the premises takes priority.

Sometimes employees are on-call during their free time, but there are no restrictions that employees must abide by other than to be reachable by cell phone. The employees are fairly free to do what they want, whether it involves maintenance around the home, spending time with children or watching television. In this type of situation, the employer would not have to pay the employee for on-call hours. The exception would be when calls from the employer are so frequent that the employee really has no use of free time. Then, once again, you must pay the employee for the on-call hours.

Despite the standards set by the FLSA, various court cases have arisen that dispute on-call wages and hours. One noteworthy case was the Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc.  heard by the Supreme Court in California that ordered California employers to pay for employees’ sleep time. Another case was Jones-Turner v. Yellow Enterprise Systems, LLC  where the district court ruled based on the FLSA and Kentucky law that employers did not have to pay ambulance workers for on-call meal times.

If you have questions about paying for time worked on-call, consult with one of our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates . Our firm has decades of experience assisting clients with litigation related to wages and hours laws.

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The Charm of Being an Unlikely Candidate
Mar 04, 2015 | 33 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is something exciting about the idea of a George Pataki presidential run from a political science standpoint. There is also a lot of eye rolling that comes with the specter of it since the former New York governor toys with running for office now and again. Pataki is one of those candidates that is interesting to people who study politics because he has never lost an election. That is something to which Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and all three Bush's cannot lay claim. He defeated Mario Cuomo, America’s progressive answer to Ronald Reagan. He is now putting out feelers for a presidential run, which is unlikely – but so what? The down-shot for Pataki is that he has been out of politics for too long. He is from a state that – if he were the GOP nominee – he may not win. He is a pro-choice Republican, which will make winning conservative primaries a challenge. Pataki will most likely not run because he would have to raise a lot of money ahead of time, and even if he had old friend Alfonse D’Amato helping, it may not be enough. Running for president is most difficult in the early stages. Those caucuses and primaries are never-ending and highly partisan. They take place – for the most part – where they do not always take kindly to New Yorkers. So what makes a Pataki run exciting? Rudolph Giuliani was able to get the endorsement of conservative evangelical preacher Pat Robertson. If Giuliani can get that support, then Pataki could probably get some help from the right as well. Pataki is a different kind of candidate. He is much more formidable than opponents think. There is also an advantage to Pataki being out of politics for a little while. He can spout off about PACs and special interests because there is no recent history of having taken any of that money. He has not been in the Senate voting for tax increases. He has not benefited from earmarks. He is not a Bush. He has gotten union support in the past. He has won the Catholic vote in the past, something Republican presidential candidates have had a hard time winning in recent elections. Pataki is not a flashy politician. But he finds a way to surprise people. Count on your hand how many major national politicians have never lost an election, let alone in a state that tilts heavily toward the candidate’s opposition party. House of Cards and its Putin Obsession House of Cards, the political drama on Netflix, returned last week for its third season. Without giving anything away, there is a lot of activity between the American president, Frank Underwood, and the Russian president, Victor Petrov, who is a Vladimir Putin clone. Petrov likes to surf and have his picture taken. Petrov is also divorced. This is not new for fictionalized political television, but it is new territory for House of Cards. House of Cards is way too dark and creepy to be realistic enough for political junkies, but it's still a great show. It’s a great show because it gives us story lines that are nutty, like having a vice president manipulate his way to the Oval Office without being elected. By introducing this Putin-esque character, House of Cards defaulted to a common formula. The bread and butter of this show is how atypical it is. Okay, maybe I gave something away.
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Learn Asian fan dance techniques at Flushing Town Hall on March 7.
Learn Asian fan dance techniques at Flushing Town Hall on March 7.
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