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August 23, 2019

Housing Authority plumber scores overtime-swollen $286K in year as NYCHA splurges $96M on OT

August 13, 2019

(Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)

Fixing the pipes in the projects is big business if you can get it.

Housing Authority plumber Robert Procida made a whopping $286,000 in the past year, a tab that included more than $180,000 for 1,668 hours of overtime. In fact, the 11 top earners at the troubled NYCHA were all plumbers or electricians, their blue collar pay checks more than doubled by eye-popping OT payments.

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General manager Vito Mustaciuolo was No. 12 on the list with a comparatively meager $237,000 annual take-home pay, according to a report by the Empire Center, an Albany think tank that promotes government transparency.

Robert Procida
Robert Procida (Obtained by New York Daily News)

The swollen paychecks indicate the seriousness of management problems at the agency that houses about 400,000 low-income tenants.

NYCHA spent $96 million in overtime during fiscal year 2019, which ran until the end of June, and two-thirds of the agency’s workers made some OT in the year.

In all, 100 New York City employees who collected at least $100,000 in overtime in 2019, including 30 who worked at NYCHA. About 18 of them took home more pay than Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made $258,000 last year.

The top overtime earner was a plasterer at the Department of Corrections, who somehow raked in $189,000 in OT, more than tripling his regular salary.

It was not clear if some of the NYCHA overtime reported in 2019 might have been reimbursement for extra hours worked in prior years that was improperly withheld, the report said.

The OT payout actually amounted to a 2% dip from the previous year. NYCHA is grappling with an ongoing maintenance crisis in its 345 aging projects scattered across the five boroughs.

“Our goal is to improve productivity and deliver the highest level of service to our residents, and we will use all tools at our disposal, including overtime,” said Chester Soria, a NYCHA spokesman.

The agency says it needs to pay overtime to respond to heating and other emergencies which often happen after regular working hours. It also launched a Saturday work program aimed at clearing a backlog of maintenance problems.

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