"Any day now..."
Zlotnick said she was a "whistleblower" when she went to the press with accusations of malfeasance on the part of City Assessor Tony Popolizio and other members of the Accounts Department, but it remains unclear as to whether that defense will stick.
In her hearing, she also said she went to the State Attorney General, City Police and the District Attorney’s office with her accusations, though no charges were ever filed.
The city said she can't be a whistleblower since no one knew she was going to the police with her accusations. In fact, city officials say they didn't know about it until Zlotnick was already facing charges of insubordination.
Zlotnick used the whistleblower defense in an administrative hearing held to determine whether the Accounts Department can, indeed, fire her for the five charges of insubordination and misconduct they allege.
Many of the charges stem from her going to the media with allegations against the Popolizio, her superior in the office.
She alleged, in part, that he favored real-estate consultant Diane Young in the reduction of condominium assessments throughout the city and that he inappropriately lowered the assessment of Deputy Commissioner Sharon Kellner-Chille’s house.
Accounts Commissioner John Franck said Zlotnick didn't know what she was talking about and said there were reasons that Young was getting assessments lowered en masse.
When she testified, Zlotnick said Popolizio "coached" Young about what property owners to approach about reducing their assessments. Later, McCarthy accused Zlotnick of "making speeches" and said she agreed to have the usually closed-door meeting in public so she could make more accusations, calling into question her qualifications to make them.
One of the city’s charges against Zlotnick is that the claims she made to the media were “without regard for the truthfulness of her allegations” and were made out of spite.
At this point, both sides of the issue are waiting on Hearing Officer Christopher Nicolino to render his decision. It was supposed to come Nov. 23, but as Nicolino lives on Long Island, Superstorm Sandy may have delayed the decision.