New York City is no stranger to blizzards (more here) – they usually have one or two a year. Generally the city does a pretty good job getting everything back to working order, considering the sheer size of the metropolitan area. The blizzard that struck the city on Christmas weekend was a different story, however. Apparently they underestimated the severity of the storm and were hesitant to engage the emergency with an all-out response by the Sanitation Department, which is responsible for snow removal. To add insult to injury, it appears that the Sanitation Department may have also engaged in a work slowdown as payback for some modest cuts by the mayor (story here from the NY Post).
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.
“They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important,” said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.
The snitches “didn’t want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation,” Halloran said. “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.”
New York’s Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process — and pad overtime checks — which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.
The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.
The workers said the work slowdown was the result of growing hostility between the mayor and the workers responsible for clearing the snow.
In the last two years, the agency’s workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors — down from 6,300 — because of the city’s budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move.
Lovely. The department bosses were pissed off at the mayor so a city of almost 8 million people suffers for it. There were also stories of people waiting hours for emergency services that could not navigate snow-clogged streets (more here from the NY Daily News).
A blizzard baby delivered inside the lobby of a snowbound Brooklyn building died after an emergency call of a woman in labor brought no help for nine excruciating hours.
The baby’s mother, a 22-year-old college senior, was recovering Tuesday night at Interfaith Medical Center, where her newborn was pronounced dead at 6:34 p.m. on Monday. That was 10 hours after the first 911 call from the bloody vestibule on Brooklyn Ave. in Crown Heights.
“No one could get to her. Crown Heights was not plowed, and no medical aid came for hours,” said the student’s mother.
By the time a horde of firefighters and cops finally trooped to her aid through snow-covered blocks, the baby was unconscious and unresponsive, sources said.
Lawsuits filed in 3…2…1… Just put them on the Sanitation Department’s tab.
As of Thursday, four days after the storm, numerous streets still had not been plowed – even once. The head of the Sanitation Department promised that would be fixed.
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty promised that every street will have been plowed by 7 this morning, but then he offered this hedge: “Will somebody find a street that I missed? Maybe.”
Bloomberg and Doherty also offered a series of excuses for the failed response to the blizzard. They blamed residents for shoveling snow into streets that had already been plowed and for tying up 911 with non-emergency calls.
Nice – blame residents for trying to clean up.
Soon-to-be former governor David Patterson has called for an investigation (more here). Let the circular firing squad of blame and finger pointing begin…