September 30, 1998
Ms. Pamela Frederick, Chair
Dear Ms. Frederick:
I am writing to you in response to your letter to the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services, dated September 4, 1998. While I cannot address HRA’s reasons for extending our current contract, I am concerned that you have chosen to perpetuate blatantly false statements, although initially proffered by certain news media, relating to a business and/or a process of which you have no direct knowledge.
With respect to the Workfare Program, many different means of determining employability have been investigated over the years. I urge you to think critically of information received from those clients who may be reluctant to leave the welfare system. I also encourage you to tread lightly when you speak of how HS Systems makes its employability determinations and what information it provides to the New York City Agency responsible for Workfare assignments. Your accusations indicate that you are under the misguided impression that HS Systems, Inc. is responsible for certain unfortunate occurrences involving previous clients; however, to date no such determination has been made, and we believe we bear no blame for these events.
Each of our physicians involved with employability assessments is now and has been since the time of his or her hiring, in good standing with the American Medical Association and the State Education Department, Division of Professional Licensing Services, and is either Board Eligible or Certified in at least one specialty. Our credentialling process precludes the hiring of physicians whose background or professional history are in question. We stand behind each of our medical professionals and strive to provide each client with a quality physical examination.
Our clients do not enter our facility through a back freight entrance. The entrance on 45th Street is the front of our facility and the elevator is licensed as a passenger elevator. The use of freight elevators for the purpose of transporting people would be in violation of NYC and NYS Health Codes.
We have taken the Community Board’s prior requests very seriously and have exerted every possible effort in those areas under our control to comply with those requests.
I have sought to address and satisfy many of the Community’s concerns over the years. There is no letter or phone call that has gone unanswered. I have worked with the vendors on 45th Street to alleviate any burden the guests of our clients have created. However, as you should know, we cannot force people to move along and not to loiter. Our advice to our neighbors who observe individuals, over whom we exercise no control or influence, performing illicit activities or other public nuisance is to call the police as we have. As you know, our facility closes early in the afternoon and therefore, we have no information as to who would be on 45th Street after our closing. Moreover, there is a light in front of our entrance as well as in the lobby to discourage individuals from using that doorway as a public urinal at night.
I recommend that in the future, you confirm your information before you decide to publish and distribute it widely. Our decision not to pursue legal remedies against those media vis a vis the false statements made about HS Systems and its physicians, does not preclude our seeking redress against individuals and organizations.
I am still willing to do whatever is reasonable and within my power to change to help mitigate effects of our operation on the neighborhood, but I can no longer tolerate unfounded attacks from the Community Board.
Yvonne M. Jones
Hon. C. Virginia Fields, Manhattan Borough President
Jennie Esterow, Mayor’s Community Assistance Unit
Bob Roberts, Urban Justice Center