Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer
Dear Legislator Lindsay, September 13th 2010
My name is Joanne Polacsek. I am writing to you on behalf of my family, and the many other families within Suffolk County who are struggling in the fight to collect Child Support from non custodial parents employed off the books.
The financial devastation it can / has caused single family working parents, not eligible for assistance of any kind is astronomic, emotional and unfair to the children that are forced to endure things no child should have to. I am begging all elected officials in Suffolk County to stand up for the children in the fight to “find a way to make them pay”.
Unfortunately Suffolk County does not have a much needed work program for deadbeat parents who claim they cannot find work. The Dept of Social Services / Child Support Collection Unit lacks the funds and resources needed to investigate these cases. There are an overwhelming number of these cases currently across our state, and many right here in Suffolk County. Employers who fail to comply with income execution notices because they pay off the books, get away with more than just failure to comply. They evade many business tax laws as well, and that is unfair.
In 2007 I made Child Support aware that my husband was employed off the books, here in Suffolk County, and provided them with the information needed to enforce collection procedures. I was sadly advised in writing that the employer was notified via phone, and advised the Collection unit that my husband was not employed there, when infact he was. After many letters to the former commissioner, Janet Demarzo and the clear indication that the county was unable to help and the feeling they didn’t care, I contacted Roger Greene in Albany who advised me that it was very hard to prove off the books employment, and that a willful violation against an employer, income payer had never been proven in the state. He further advised me that if I was adamant in proving otherwise, I would have to do the investigative work myself and present it to the county. I did just that. Unfortunately, during that time, I lost our family home, fell behind on many financial obligations needed to provide basic needs to my boys, and have fallen into an unrecoverable debt, including having to file for bankruptcy.
Currently to date, the laws written in Cplr 5241 are unclear which has allowed a particular employer to get away with thousands of dollars. The term in Cplr 5241 indicating penalties for each violation is vague. There is no determination clear to the courts on what the length of time is. Each time the support collection unit has to call to follow up on payment, post decision and order, should be another violation. How many times does the support collection unit have to call for payment to be remitted before another penalty is enforced at the 1000.00 cost? My decision and order proved the employer failed to comply numerous times, and to date, any payments made are under the duress of the child support collection unit calling to inquire about payments. This, only after I phone the hotline to inquire where the past payments are. This is unfair.
(D) In addition to the remedies herein provided and as may be
Otherwise authorized by law, upon a finding by the family court that the
Employer or income payor failed to deduct or remit deductions as
Directed in the income execution, the court shall issue to the employer
or income payer an order directing compliance and may direct the payment
of a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars for the first
Instance and one thousand dollars per instance for the second and
Subsequent instances,of employer or income payor noncompliance. The
Penalty shall be paid to the creditor and may be enforced in the same
Manner,as a civil judgment or in any other manner permitted by law.
I am begging Suffolk County, its legislatures and elected officials to help in my effort to clear the vagueness of this article and to Implement a “Work Program” here in Suffolk County for non-custodial parents who hide their incomes to evade Child Support responsibility. This in turn would alleviate the number of families currently receiving social service benefits, due in part solely because the other parent refuses to comply. To also further assist the working families not entitled to these benefits. In addition, employers who intentionally fail to comply should be responsible to the state for failure to list such employees. The businesses that choose to pay off the books and evade IEX willfully clearly are in violation of the following tax deductions: Federal, state, workers compensation, social security, tax deductions including disability. Clearly an enormous financial burden absorbed by it costs to all tax payers.
As I continue to advocate on this issue, and prepare myself for an incredible fight to make the difference and implement a change, I do this with my heartfelt thanks to our Commissioner of Social Services, Honorable. Greg Blass, including his assistant, Roland Hampson. They are an incredible asset to the county because they are sincere and very sympathetic to the families fighting like this in Suffolk County.” In the best interest of the children” A small step in the right direction in the fight against off the books employees and the employers who feel they are above the law. I commend Sheriff Vincent Demarco for his stand in the fight against deadbeat parents and Assemblyman Marc Alessi and his wonderful staff who have supported my family in this fight.
Unfortunalty, it will take many officials working together to accomplish a common goal, “In the best interest of the children” including working with our families, seeing the devastation it causes to the children of Suffolk County. Implementing the changes in Article Cplr 5241 and clarifying its vague areas of importance need to be revised accordingly. A work program in Suffolk County for non custodial parents owing 10,000 or more and claim they cannot find work is a much needed program in the fight against deadbeat parents.
I thank you for taking the time to read this, and hope to hear from your office in the future.
Sincerely and Respectfully