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Competence and transparency: when developer fails to disclose additional time for after-hours work, state authority ESD should catch that.

Sure, it may seem a small thing to harp on, but, as I wrote yesterday, the after-hours variance for work at the B12/B13 site today is from 9 am to 5:30 pm, as it has been for many weeks in the past, despite information to the contrary in the Construction Update. 

See the screenshot at right for the variance, from the Department of Buildings (DOB), and the one below for the excerpt from the bi-weekly Construction Update, which is prepared by the developers and then circulated, apparently without vetting, by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project.

It's a small difference, but not unimportant. And they know better, because I've pointed it out.

(The developer of the site is TF Cornerstone.)

Why it matters

Why is it not unimportant? Because for months, as I wrote last February, master developer Greenland Forest City Partners had been preparing inaccurate Construction Updates, downplaying much more extensive after-hours work, and claimed--without rebuttal--that they were accurate. It took months for them to be accurate.

Give them an inch, and they'll take a foot. Or, more concretely, small episodes of misleading information can be expanded to large ones.

It reminds us of the question: is ESD working more for the developer/project, or the public?

Or, more concretely, why can't salaried ESD staff and/or well-compensated consultants do the simple work of checking the Construction Updates against the evidence on the DOB's web site?

Demanding more

Let's recall the words of former ESD official Arana Hankin, who became more critical of the project she'd overseen after she left state government for a fellowship at Harvard (as I reported in 2016):

Policies that have dictated megaprojects have contributed to the widening economic gap in New York, speeding up the impacts of gentrification, displacing residents and local businesses, and supporting the growth of big business. Development in New York has a multitude of complexities. To be truly successful, policies will require a more holistic perspective that includes all of its citizens. New Yorkers should demand more of their government.

Sure, New Yorkers should demand more of their government. But before gaining better big-picture policies, could we at least get basic competence and transparency? It shouldn't be so hard.