A Problem Superintendent
Q I think we have the world’s worst super. I live in Queens. Our super doesn’t do repairs to any problem in the building. He farms out all projects to more expensive contractors. He always wants to be compensated for any work that is done in someone’s apartment. The janitor is only there to take out the garbage and nothing else. I asked the Salvation Army to pick up furniture and he asked them for money causing them to leave. The board said that we cannot fire him because he is in the union. What can we do?
---Frustrated in Forest Hills
A “The board is entitled to define the super's job description consistent with the union collective bargaining agreement (CAB), says partner Laurent Drogin of New York law firm of Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP . “Assuming he is a "working" super, and that the janitor is the sole employee working under him, it is reasonable for the board to split the duties between the two, and allow the super to supervise the janitor in addition to his direct work responsibilities. If the building is a member of the Realty Advisory Board, the board should seek its advice. If the building is not a member of the Realty Advisory Board, some experienced managers would take the issue to the union in its attempt to formulate the job description, so as to be sure that what the board is asking of the super is in fact allowed under the CAB, and this is good practice.
“The board should immediately direct the super to stop demanding “tips” which in reality amounts to extortion or an illegal bribe.
“If the super refuses to adhere to a reasonable job description, or continues to demand payments from outside vendors, he should be written up. After the second offense, he should be put on probation. After a third offense he may be fired, but expect that he will file a union grievance.”
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