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Ethics watchdog agency fines 2 NYC employees

New York City’s ethics watchdog has fined a probation aide who flashed her agency ID to demand free LIRR rides and a housing authority administrator for sending subordinates to a Roslyn car dealership to fix her personal vehicle’s brakes and buy a key.

Both women admitted to the misconduct and agreed to serve unpaid suspensions, according to the Conflicts of Interest Board, the watchdog agency that routinely disciplines hundreds of city workers for ethics lapses.

Tatyana Burgess, at the probation agency since 2015, will forfeit 10 work days, worth about $1,206. Leslie James, who has worked for the New York City Housing Authority since 1991, will forfeit 20 days, worth about $7,075.

Neither worker could be reached for comment. Their lawyers didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.

On three occasions during her morning commute in December 2016 and January 2017, Burgess, a community service aide for the Department of Probation in Manhattan, showed her probation agency ID to a Long Island Rail Road conductor. In one of the attempts, a conductor balked when Burgess “insisted that the LIRR conductor allow me to ride the train for free,” according to a statement she signed and released by the board.

“By identifying myself as a DOP officer and insisting that the LIRR conductor allow me to ride the train for free, I used my City position to obtain a personal advantage” in violation of the City Charter, Burgess said.

It’s unclear whether Burgess successfully evaded the fare and how the case came to the board’s attention.

In November 2015, James gave two autoworker subordinates $300 on a work day and instructed them to drive to Roslyn from Brooklyn to buy brakes and a key at a Long Island dealership and install the brakes. The trip took an hour each way. The wait at the dealership was 20 minutes while the key was programmed, according to the board. The brake installation took two hours — “four hours and 20 minutes of their NYCHA workday performing these tasks for my personal benefit,” she wrote in her signed statement to the board.

James will also be on workplace probation for two years.

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