Comptroller Maragos: Superstorm Sandy Firm Underpaid Employees $17K and Failed to Meet Professional Requirement

Maragos: "We are less than satisfied with the level of professionalism exhibited by the company."

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Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.

Photo by: George Maragos, via YouTube.

Mineola, NY - June 16, 2017 - Comptroller George Maragos released an audit of Superstorm Sandy debris removal monitoring work performed by Gibbons, Esposito and Boyce, P.C. (“GEB”) under a $385,478 County contract, which found that the vendor may have provided less than professional services and underpaid all of its Field Monitors a total of over $17,000. The majority of the Field Monitors were paid $13.00, when the Law requires at least $15.21 - $15.50 an hour, during the two-year audit period.  The auditors were given only two of the eight Field Monitor personnel files to verify that training and qualifications met the minimum contract requirements. The two personnel files provided were college students. The audit covered the period of March 2014 through May 2015. 
 
“Although we are pleased to hear that GEB has agreed to pay back wages, we are less than satisfied with the level of professionalism exhibited by the company and the qualifications of the staff employed” said Comptroller Maragos. “Furthermore, the company’s response by their attorneys appears evasive and raises questions regarding awarding future contracts to this company.” 
 
The major findings of the audit were as follows:
 
  • All eight GEB Field Monitors were paid less than the County Living wage rate resulting in underpayments totaling $14,661. This represented 50% of employees who worked on the debris removal monitoring project.
  • Compensated time off for all eight GEB Field Monitors totaling $2,424 was not awarded, contrary to the Living Wage Law.
  • GEB failed to maintain proof that all Field Monitors had proper FEMA protocol training and did not have complete personnel files for the employees working under the contract.
  • Some of the GEB time sheets and expense reports submitted to the County for reimbursement did not contain either the employee’s signature or a supervisory approval signature.
GEB replied through their attorneys that they were exempt from the County’s Living Wage Law. The auditors disagree and referred to their contract terms. GEB did, however, offer to pay the employees the Living Wage underpayment. The audit will be referred to the County Attorney and the District Attorney for further review.
 
The Nassau County Living Wage Law was enacted by the Nassau County Legislature in 2006 to raise the minimum wage of employees working for most of the County’s contractors and for County employees. The Comptroller’s Office is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Law. The Living Wage is currently $13.73 per hour for employees receiving health benefits, or $15.78 per hour for employees without health benefits.
 
For a copy of the report please connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos online:
http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html.