Sunday, October 22, 2006

New York Post article

The following article was in today's New York Post. If the allegations prove true it would make me skeptical about the accuracy of other data collected by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

'Shelter' Slap at Frieden  
New York Post, Oct 22, page 20

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden once demanded that a negative report on the city's animal shelters be "fudged," says a whistle-blowing former shelters boss. Frieden, who doubles as board chairman of the Center for Animal Care and Control, asked Ed Boks, executive director at ACC from January 2004 to December 2005, to "smooth over" a consultant's report on the system, Boks alleges in a bombshell court affadavit.

The consultant found that Department of Health inspectors didn't accurately report deplorable conditions in the shelters, and to prove his point, juxtaposed photos of hazardous conditions at the shelters with city inspection reports claiming the facilities were fine.

When Boks attempted to report his own findings on the matter to the mayor - he said he "wanted to write that DOH falsified reports" - Frieden "told me to use kinder language and smooth it over." Boks' affadavit was submitted as part of a lawsuit against ACC filed in June by an animal-welfare group alleging mismanagement at ACC.

The city has filed a motion to dismiss the suit. The DOH said it does not comment on ongoing litigation. Boks, who nows works as general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, called Frieden a "detriment" to ACC's mission.

Boks also said the agency's "sloppy" and. "incompetent" record-keeping led to "grossly inaccurate" statistics on the numbers of euthanizations and adoptions and called ACC's problems "systemic."