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March 2012

Just a few updates this month.  First and foremost…….we’re baaaaaack!!  As most of those reading this column will know, the TLC experienced a seven-week hiatus at the TLC’s and OATH’s Long island City Licensing and Adjudication facilities due to a major flood.  The good news is that we were successfully able to return “home” on Wednesday, February 8.  In short, thanks to a team effort that was nothing short of incredible, the Long Island City facilities are open for business with all services available.

Of course, there were many unsung heroes on the TLC side (the words hard work and sacrifice don’t nearly cover the herculean efforts of many TLC team members), but I really wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of our licensees.  While this was certainly a major exercise in adaptation for our staff, it was a difficult period for our customers, too, but we couldn’t have done it without considerable cooperation on their part, so I wanted to express our gratitude to everyone who was affected……your patience and goodwill is appreciated!

In other news, while I know this is somewhat anticlimactic since an ironclad agreement was reached in the final days of 2011, I wanted to share the news with all our readers that Governor Cuomo recently signed the legislative chapter amendments that will pave the road for our codifying the specifics of borough hail livery service into the TLC’s rules and regulations, and we look forward to furthering that process this month and in April.  Thanks again to everyone who made this historic initiative possible…..you know who you are!

I am also pleased to report here that US District Judge Lewis Kaplan decided in favor of the TLC in a case where the use of GPS to confirm the fraudulent overcharge of taxi passengers was challenged.  The bottom line here is that the TLC can and should continue to use the tools at its disposal to protect the riding public, but we also take very seriously our obligation to fight for and protect the legitimate drivers whose reputation suffers when the inappropriate actions of some abusive drivers comes to light.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that we said farewell to our colleague, Senior Prosecuting Attorney Charles Tortorici this week.  Charles has served here at the TLC since October of 1997, but his 20 total years with the City includes distinguished service with the District Attorney’s Office and the Administration for Children’s Services, and so, in the name of public service, it has always been about protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves for Charles.  So, bravo and thanks, Charles…..and good luck in all your future endeavors in the private sector.

Until next month, take care and be well!

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