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New Bill Aims to Cut Back on Useless Violations Issued by the DOH and Other Organizations

Some worry that it could make it easier to for the city to levy fines on restaurants.

The bain of nearly every NYC restaurant's existence is fighting Department of Health violations. Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal is introducing a bill that aims to reduce the number of violations issued by the DOH and other organizations, specifically the violations that are typically dismissed when challenged. More than 90 percent of the 26,000 violations challenged annually at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings are restaurant related, and last year 42 percent of them were dismissed. That's a lot of violations, and a lot of time, frustration, and tax dollars spent.

Rosenthal told Crain's in an email:

In the case of restaurateurs whose cases get dismissed, we might be able to find a type of summons that issuing officers give out that hearing officers tend to dismiss, and get those two sides to talk to each other to see if that type of summons is worth keeping.

However, the bill could have a negative effect. Some worry that the bill will only cause fewer violations to be dismissed. And as Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York Hospitality Alliance told Crain's. "It would be real shame if well-intended legislation to help small businesses resulted in an exercise for government to find better ways to increase fines being issued to them."