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Bayside DEP official gives up vacation for stealing city services

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A high-ranking official in the city Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to forfeit 12 vacation days after using a city truck to pump water out of her flooded Bayside basement for free two years ago, a spokesman for the city Conflicts of Interest Board said.

Carol Fenves, chief contracting officer for the DEP, admitted in July 2007 she sent an e-mail to the deputy commissioner of the agency’s Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations, requesting him to send a truck to remove water from the basement of her Bayside home, the Conflicts of Interest Board said.

The services she received cost the city an estimated $642, the board said.

Fenves, who could not be reached for comment, wrote in a Conflicts of Interest Board disposition that a truck arrived to pump water from her basement, driveway and garage about two hours after she sent the e-mail. But the crew did not come to the aid of her neighbors’ homes, which had also been flooded.

“A rain storm caused me to experience flooding in my private residence in Bayside,” wrote Fenves, who has worked with the agency for 17 years. “I acknowledge that when I requested the BWSO deputy commissioner to send a BWSO response crew to alleviate the flood conditions at my private home, I violated the City Charter by using my DEP position to obtain a personal and private advantage that is not afforded to the general public.”

The City Charter prevents public servants from using their position to obtain financial gains or contracts for personal uses.

Fenves agreed to give up 12 vacation days valued at $6,290, which represents the financial equivalent of a 15-day suspension plus the value of the services she received as punishment, the Conflicts of Interest Board said.

The DEP could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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