Days before Joseph Ponte is set to leave New York City’s Department of Correction, records show that the embattled commissioner worked from his vacation home in Maine for nearly 30 days last year.
Ponte claimed to have worked 11 1/2 hours each day on many of the 29 days he said he was working from his home in Wiscasset, Maine. In doing so, he banked 182 unused hours of vacation time, which he can now cash in for about $20,000, according to his payroll records that were obtained by the New York Daily News.
Ponte is stepping down Wednesday after three years amid a series of scandals that includes allegations that he and other officials improperly used city-issued vehicles for personal travel and that the DOC spied on city investigators. He announced his plans to resign last month.
A source told the Daily News that Ponte’s hours are being examined by the Department of Investigation, which is looking at his phone and email records on the days he claimed to work from Maine. An April 28 report from the DOI discovered that Ponte was out of state for a total of 90 days last year; 35 of them were workdays.
The DOC does not have a recorded telecommuting policy and requests are at “management’s discretion,” DOC officials told the Daily News.
While Ponte was out of state, 27 inmate slashings, three correction officer slashings and the death of one on-duty staff member occurred, according to the DOI. Two of the slashings occurred on Aug. 27 in two different DOC facilities. Ponte, according to his payroll records, claimed to work 14 hours from his Maine home the following day.
Records show Ponte sold the Victorian Wiscasset home in March for nearly $299,000.