The “Sewer Department” Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — OCTOBER 13, 2021 — Warnings of Hurricane Ida’s pending ferocity was unequivocal. What was certain was that Ida would arrive; the exact location was unclear. As Ida meandered along the path of her choosing many communities more often prone to the horrific aftermath of hurricanes took whatever best practice precautions available. Yonkers was but just one of the many communities in the southern part of Westchester County to suffer her gargantuan prowess. Ida unleashed rain soaked winds, floods, and mud slides. Each aspect of her capacity would bring about flooding, as well as resultant mud-damaged homes, garages, business locations, and government facilities.
Yet the Yonkers Department of Public Works was silent about what they didn’t do, and worse still, they never divulged that there was any damage to the department’s equipment. Based on their silence, one could conceivably surmise that the equipment and facilities were not damaged, but alas there was much damage.
DPW Commissioner Thomas Meier, and Deputy Commissioner Sam Borelli, remained and still remain mum despite the fact that they have written of “Our Mission” as noted on the City of Yonkers Website.
Under “Our Mission” the following is expressed:
“The mission of the Department of Public Works is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare through proactive planning and implementation of policies designed to provide high levels of critical services and to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of the City of Yonkers.”
Sadly, they engaged in no “proactive planning” as will be noted herein. So far, no accounting of any equipment damage has been forthcoming.
They have also declared “Our Goals”. The salient and pertinent issues in this telling is that despite what they have written:
To provide quick and efficient communications for all citizens inquiries and requests.” No Communication was ever publicly disseminated. Were it not for some concerned Yonkersites, the Yonkers Tribune would be unaware and the financial burden to replace and fix damaged equipment would be unknown. The financial burden will eventually come to pass when the budget will need to be defined without ever an admission of incompetence from the department’s hierarchy.
To provide all City Departments with maintained vehicles and equipment vital to providing critical city services.” Interestingly, because neither the Commissioner nor the Deputy Commissioner either did not have a plan, nor upon learning of the warning of Ida, no plan was ever devised. But the wording is part of the subterfuge and cannot be tolerated any more. It has been going on for years.
Then we learn further that their mission is “To constantly strive to efficiently apply the best possible management and technology, at the lowest possible cost, to achieve the most effective results.” The audacity here is that the commissioners assert that they will engage in “the best possible management”. The warnings were pronounced. There was no timidity in the telling of Ida’s enormity. The Commissioners were absent, or simply never took the time to plan in advance, and certainly they did not plan for the pending hurricane. As for costs, their lack of advance planning and/or emergency planning has been the cause of damage that should never have transpired.
Yonkersites who informed the Yonkers Tribune were on target. The equipment that was damaged was never validated in all its entirety by City Hall. Instead, City Hall’s response was dismissive and obtuse in language and derisive in attitude as was evident in the language by which they admitted obtusely that “something” did happen without ever advising what damage was caused except for one item. That item was that a specialized truck suffered water damage to the mother board. When City Hall was approached we suggested that the one damaged truck we were aware of suffered damage that may amount to a cost of $500,000. They adamantly denied that was the case, but they never informed of the cost for that mother board, nor if any other vehicles suffered similar damage.
The basis for this telling is quite simple, despite the warnings Hurricane Ida might cause, the simplest “plan” to avoid damage was to first move all vehicles from their low lying home, known as the “Sewer Department” which is located at one of the lowest points in Yonkers, along Saw Mill River Road. Flooding was fierce and yet could have been avoided had the equipment been moved to high ground. Where you say? Easy! Take the equipment and park it along Central Avenue! Simple but effective.
The takeaway is simple, The DPW Commissioners believe their silence will mitigate any inquiry and thereby be forgotten in time by their lack of response. Perhaps that was true in the past. Perhaps it was that the Yonkers Tribune tried to cover more than it should instead of sticking to one story a day, perhaps two. The YT is a one-man operation and I cannot be everywhere and cover every place. To my failing our readers, my sincerest apology.
The reason this telling is important is because when Governor Kathleen Hochul came to Yonkers she advised that she came prepared. She publicly announced that she had made a call to President Joe Biden and that he had agreed to offer financial aid, and FEMA’s capacity and expertise. She was prepared! Have DPW/City Hall filed for financial aid with this regard? Not a word!!!
Who will review the verbose eloquence but meaningless “mumbo jumbo” of DPW’s mission statement.
DPW and other departments must not cower to cover up a circumstance such as Hurricane Ida caused. What DPW did was cover up their lack of advance planning, and emergency planning. That is to their shame. The taxpayer will have to pay for their delinquency and lack of management skills which has been known for years.
It seems incongruous to me that after all these years on the beat in Yonkers, 21 years so far, that Yonkers has not learned to contend with crises on the one hand, and yet is equally incapable of celebrating its success.
Were it not for Yonkersites who love Yonkers as much as they do, we could not deliver the issues that are relevant to every resident, whether positive or negative.
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This Hezitorial may sound angry to some but it is in reality simply my disappointment in the never ending saga and conduct of deceit!
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It’s quite simple, if you know something, say something. Direct email to WHYTeditor@gmail.com