For any number of reasons, many Americans live in housing that is partially funded by the government. That does not mean, however, that they are not entitled to the same rights as tenants who rent from a private landlord.
Shola Olatoye has been the head of NYCHA for four years. Her job is basically to ensure that the residents of these buildings have safe and comfortable apartments to come home to at the end of the day.
Ms. Olatoye has not done her job. Last month, a roof collapsed in a NYCHA building. Complaints of a water leak were ignored, until it was too late. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. But the apartment is now uninhabitable and the family who lived there has yet to find a suitable permanent replacement for their home. She also lied on federal forms that NYCHA buildings were inspected for lead poisoning, potentially putting lives at risk. Despite the fact that she knew the tests were mandatory, she still signed off on the forms, knowing that the tests were not done.
If that was not enough, residents have been loudly complaining about the lack of heat in their buildings for some time now. It’s February, the fact that this issue has not been resolved brings up serious questions of Ms. Olatoye’s abilities to do the job she was hired to do.
These are tax paying citizens, just because they live in publicly funded buildings instead being able to pay for housing completely out of their own pocket does not mean that they should be getting the short of the stick. If these problems had come up in buildings owned by private landlords, the landlord would have no choice but to resolve the issue ASAP.
The fact is that Ms. Olatoye is unable to complete the responsibilities of the position. Anyone in a management position would say that the buck stops with them. If something goes wrong under their watch, they must have a hand in fixing the problem. If Ms. Olatoye was working for a private company and not for the city, she would have likely lost her job. But she has not lost her job, a fact that absolutely boggles my mind. Her boss, Mayor de Blasio has defended her instead of handing her a pink slip.
I have one question: why hasn’t Shola Olatoye been fired already?