New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Commentary

Storm Recovery a Disaster

Blizzard Charlotte dumped an awful lot of snow in New Britain last week. Many believe it was the biggest storm we have seen in our lifetime. Weather forecasters say that is not true. Ch. 3 reported a snowfall in Jan. of 2011 dumped more snow in the area and the Storm of the Century in 1996 gave the state more snow than this one as well.

Do you remember those?

They might be somewhere in the back of your mind. But, the big question is why did this one seem so much bigger?

The answer is because most of us were stuck in our homes for days due to mismanagement by the City. If we received more snow in one storm in 2011, then why weren’t we snowed in for days? Apparently, Mayor Tim Stewart handled the situation better.

In this storm private contractors were hired too late to help and there were less people to man the trucks than in previous years.

Let’s face it, no one can control how much snow we get, but Mayor Tim O’Brien and his deputy chief of staff Phil Sherwood did an awful job taking care of the events surrounding this storm. The only street I heard of that was plowed 4 times in the first 24 hours was Commonwealth Avenue that Mr. Sherwood lives on and it is not a main road.

A map on page 1 shows that even at 8 p.m. on Sunday night the City was nowhere near done. It appeared the megalomaniacs were controlling every step making City workers’ jobs more difficult.

Let’s make this clear. It is not the fault of public works or those working the plows and machinery. They did what they were told and worked extra long shifts. We should thank them for all their hard work.

It is the management that apparently did a bad job. And let’s remember this poorly handled storm was also done badly in other cities. New Britain was not the only one who did a bad job.

But, some did it well. The streets in West Hartford and Farmington were almost completely clear on Saturday.

To me that means it could have been done better. If contractors were hired before the storm began and we had extra plows on the streets, they could have been opened up to 24 hours earlier.

Instead of hiring contractors in advance, and there was plenty of warning, money was saved to waste on items such as a PR firm for the mayor and the hiring of his friends in his office.

Enough already. It is time for the Mayor to put resident safety first.

This storm is not one we will soon forget. I’m sure many will also remember it come November.