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Blizzard Sparks Letter Calling for Town Manager Leadership to Return to Stratford

Kathy Chirsky pens an open letter to the people of Stratford, arguing that the main reason several town roads have not been plowed yet following the weekend blizzard lies in town leadership.

This is for all of past and present town public works employees: You guys are doing what you can and are told to do and I appreciate you all. Thank you for putting in the hours you do and for all your hard work!

I have heard complaints on complaints about the Town of Stratford not plowing or their roadways being still blocked. I feel for you. But if you're running out of food it's your fault for not taking this storm seriously -- you should of prepared.

If you're blocked in, OK, do the math: How many trucks per how many streets in Stratford, now factor in the snow amounts, people leaving cars on the street and then factor in people thinking they could drive in this stuff and now are stuck in the roadway and abandon their vehicles...

Stay off the roads means nothing to some of you! Walking in the streets means nothing too. Unsafe snow amounts and now trucks trying to watch out for people walking too? Stay home and off the roads means just that. Stores should be closed.

Now let's be the friendly neighbor and help one another and do the right thing. Help the elderly, your neighbor and make it a town to be proud of!

Main problem is a town mayor NOW and the town is NOT run by a town manager anymore. You voted for the change and it is not working. Years ago you heard trucks all night long before the storm, during the storm and after the storm.

Remember some of you called to complain of the noise and their lights flashing and blinking of the trucks late at night or early morning going down your street 3-5 times during a storm. You couldn't sleep and the noise was keeping your family up.

Hmm I remember all those complains and the mayor took your advice. But the town manager didn't back then. He would have those trucks still be out there with all your complaints of noise and still have his crew doing the roads and getting the job done for the safety and passage ways open for the other important people: the EMTs, police and fire departments.

So here you are still waiting to hear that lovely sound once again....Time to make some noise and get back a town manager and not a mayor. People complaining their taxpayer money being spent on trucks repeating on their street over and over. Seems it worked to get the job done back then.

Better equipment may be needed but who is willing to give money to the public works department? Now turn you complaints into reality and stop whining and face your decision to vote in a mayor. And all the cuts you wanted! I hear people wanting to sue. Really? For what? You voted this stuff in! You wanted to save money! I can't wait to hear the noise of this open letter!

[To submit a letter to the editor, email Stratford Patch editor Jason Bagley at jason.bagley@patch.com.]

Theresa February 11, 2013 at 04:24 PM
But you get an awesome fire house and Shakespeare Theater...oh, wait, oops....forget the theater....
Theresa February 11, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Nicely put Mark. Exactly. I've seen a lot of people helping others, snow-blowing a neighbor's walkway or giving a push to a car stuck in the snow. You have the right attitude and I wish others would follow your example.
Theresa February 11, 2013 at 04:33 PM
No, instead people are complaining that February vacation must stay...that the governor waive the 180 day school rule, etc. This week should be in lieu of February vacation. Every day of school is important...we're not exactly winning educational gold ribbons here. The Police, Fire and EMS are doing an awesome job. Now it's time for our elected officials to do the same.
Theresa February 11, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Kathy Chirsky has proven that one CAN write a rambling letter to the editor....
Kevin Newcomb February 11, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Ms. Chirsky should have stopped writing her letter after the 5th paragraph. Shem makes some good points until then, and then goes off the deep end on a misinformed rant. This has nothing to do with the mayor. We got 3 feet of snow, with 5-10 foot drifts in the roads. What plow can deal with that? It takes an hour to plow one mile of road. The crews have been working round the clock. The "no diesel" rumor is a myth, debunked by this site's reporter multiple times. People need to stop whining and trying to blame the town for mishandling the storm cleanup. They should be thankful instead that the mayor and our town employees have managed as well as they have.
Rob February 11, 2013 at 05:00 PM
I have food, water, and gas in car. Neighborhood has joined together and shoveled out the elderly. I praise the workers who are working around the clock to make things better. That being said, the update from Trumbull patch is that 95% of roads as of now are clear. Norwalk had 24" of snow and is clear. It seems that it's the town of Stratford who did not take the storm seriously and is once again not prepared.
Tactical Advantage February 11, 2013 at 05:02 PM
By the rambling of this letter it appears that Kathy Chirsky may be suffering from cabin fever. The symptoms are screaming out of the writings. Irritability, frustration, crankiness, etc...
Allison February 11, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Couldn't agree more!
Diane Wirtemburg February 11, 2013 at 05:26 PM
I'll agree with any excuse to not have a mayor in this town. I voted NOT to have a mayor and never thought it was a good idea after we got one. Let's go back to the town manager system. I've heard all the reasons why it's so good to have a mayor so don't bother replying to this.
Diane Wirtemburg February 11, 2013 at 05:27 PM
And she's right...no mayor, town manager...get over it.
Not so common sense February 11, 2013 at 05:53 PM
your letter started off strong but finished off weak.
max February 11, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Agree, other towns seem to have "weathered" this storm better than Stratford. It's not the town government form to blame, should have been better planning from all. I'm ok with water, heat, electric and food (so far), friends and neighbors helped shovel out my blocked doors. Still waiting for plows to visit my street, otherwise I'd be at work by now to help pay for town taxes.
wendy kovacs February 11, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Childhood memories of a story my parents shared during the 1978 blizzard : one of Bridgeport’s legendary lines: “God put the snow there… let Him take it away.” Bridgeport’s penny-pinching Socialist Mayor Jasper McLevy, 1933-57, received credit for the declaration following a snow storm in 1938. Feels like it's 1938 here in Stratford!, Many other neighboring towns have main roads done, and one pass through on side roads, if not more than that. What's the real story Stratford? More needs to be done just for emergency access...
Christine Pelfrey February 11, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Ditto Mark. We're on a dead end. We shared gas for the snowblower with our neighbor. He blew out the end of our driveway and a path to our front door. We checked on our neighbors. We all took care of each other. That's what neighbors are supposed to do. We just kicked back and waited for the payloaders, which did come today around noon.
Howard Wardlow February 11, 2013 at 07:11 PM
I completely disagree. The lack of communication from the administration is beyond frustrating. The apparent hap-hazard method by which they are "clearing" roads is another. It seriously looks like the 3 stooges are running this show. Supposedly there are 16 payloaders working. Why only 16 why not 20 or 30, other towns have offered assistance - channel 12 - New Canaan first selectman offered assistance, it was turned down, why? Let all that want to come help, come. Put hundreds of trucks out there not just 60 or 70. This is a major disaster you take all the help you can get regardless the cost. And as for the cost with this now a federal disaster it doesn't fall on the local budget it is now funded by the feds. I voted for this administration and its lack of communication and coordination during the recent disasters has been an unmitigatd disaster. I will not vote for this Mayor again, he may be a very nice guy, he is a horrible mayor and worse manger/administrator. Let's not forget Milford and Hamden both had more snow and are stating they will have all roads cleared by tonight, how is it they can get it done and Stratford can't?
Robyn Hasbrouck February 11, 2013 at 07:23 PM
I'd also heard the no deisel rumor going around (via people who said on Sunday night a plowman told them that to their face) and was informed, by a good source this morning that was a lie being told, that in fact, the reason why no one was seeing plows pretty much town wide after 9pm or so on Friday was because the workers were not coming in. The Town of Stratford couldn't get their workers to come in! That is why all the private people were up for three days trying to do what they could. That is why the only ones being seen (and getting stuck) were payloaders and pick-up trucks with plows. Now having relayed all that, I'd love as many comments as possible to deny or confirm this info?
Walt February 11, 2013 at 07:43 PM
They were in at 4 am friday.
rob February 11, 2013 at 08:55 PM
its been an interesting few days..I agree that the town couldnt be ready as 36-40" of snow is not the norm for Stratford and public works is going as fast as they can. It has created an interesting dynamic with all the neighbors pitching in an working together which is good to see. Lets see where we all are by Wednesday...._ a Barrows Terrace resident
Tony Delbene February 11, 2013 at 08:57 PM
I lived in bpt for 30 yrs and now stratford for 30 and I am sorry but this is the worst response ever . And we had plenty of big storms . Instead of maintaining the equipment and the workforce they hire a consultants for this or for that !!!! Or they build a fire house with all that frosting !!! Watch how much tax money they spend on the Shakespeare theater !!!!
Not so common sense February 11, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Go back to bridgeport
artis ball February 11, 2013 at 10:32 PM
wow i was in Germany and i have never seen this much snow here in usa and not to much there but I was soldier and in combat engineers we made it disappear faster than these guys though. but keep on trucking guys!
Lorri-Anne Margaglio- Plastini February 12, 2013 at 12:05 AM
I think you guys have to much time on your hands. No use arguing online...go enjoy your families.
David February 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM
The snow removal situation is ridiculous but so is the politics in this town. We heard about Miron in the news every other day for saying or doing something stupid. Harkins is the other extreme, we hear nothing about him because he DOES nothing. Open a nation wide search for an experienced Mayor with proven results, then hire him/her!
Theresa February 12, 2013 at 03:49 PM
$90,000 a year plus health insurance and other generous benefits such as a free town car, car insurance and free fuel, that's what we pay the mayor. In 2005 we made the mistake of opting for a mayor WITH a town council (including manager). It is time to reassess the need for a mayor and this odd town management hierarchy. Council or Mayor, but not both.
Bob Cerani February 12, 2013 at 08:21 PM
Kathy, Why are you complaining? Do you know the magnitude of this storm? Please just look out your window.
Tom February 12, 2013 at 11:04 PM
You are a nut. It's an inconvenience unless you were unprepared after being told to prepare. Take a drive around town and see what is going on, and then criticize. What, exactly, would you have done differently to make people like you more comfortable. Get a grip.
jj February 12, 2013 at 11:31 PM
6 30 tues nite and no plow yet chemo tomorrow hopefully
Howard Wardlow February 13, 2013 at 02:03 PM
I will reiterate my previous comments, I don't doubt every effort was being made to clean the streets by the Mayor and the public works crews. However it was the manner in which is was conducted by whomever was managing the situation, it was haphazard at best a comedy at worst. When finally released from entrapment on Monday evening I ventured out to the store to restock, why is it I would drive by 2 streets with a passing lane then 2 streets without then 2 streets with. It is that insanity and lack of communication that people are frustrated with. Why not segregate the town into a large grid, create teams of truck, payloaders etc and then assign to a sector and they clean that sector, when done move to the next sector in a systemic way. The communicate that to the people. Have an emergency response team to help where needed for fire/police/ambulance. This isn't rocket science people its called organization and management. I would give the mayor and his team a pass if Milford who had more snow was also having issues, but they weren't, why? Because they were better organized and managed.
Bob Cerani February 14, 2013 at 04:34 PM
YOU just do not like this administration,YOU GOTTA BE A DUMACRAT.
Theresa February 15, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Whether you think the snow plowing was handled well or not, or the town should return to a Town Council system without a mayor or keep it the way it is, the Mayor and Council, along with the BOE and PW departments, should sit down and figure out what went wrong with the communications end of this unforeseen emergency and ways they could improve response in the future. Rumors, anxiety and frustration existed because of poor communication between DEPARTMENTS as well as the towns people and Town Hall.

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