By Patti Sperling
TO THE MAYOR, DPW AND TOWN COUNCIL:
Despite the fact that Blizzard Charlotte/Storm Nemo of 2013 left our area with an unprecedented amount of snow, I absolutely believe that the entire system put into place of clearing the roads in the Town of Stratford was completely mismanaged by the DPW, the EOC and the Mayor.
I'm not sure who was in charge (Mo McCarthy or some other employee of the DPW), and who was reporting back to chart streets that were done, but there was a definitely "failure to communicate" somewhere.
This storm, as with Irene and Sandy, was forecast. We knew it was coming and proper preparation was the key.
You all were either elected by the taxpayers of Stratford or are paid by the taxpayers of Stratford. In other words, you work for us and favoritism in situations like this is unacceptable.
In postings made on the Mayor's FB page, I read a State Rep's giving thanks for the plowing so the Rep's spouse could make it to outpatient surgery. Emergency? Could it have been rescheduled? Another, a member of the Town Council, thanking the DPW for the wonderful job they are doing. Guess that member was plowed out!
Postings like this leads me to believe that preferential treatment was given to Town officials, while the people in areas that depend on their paychecks -- those that live paycheck-to-paycheck, were left wondering if they’d been forgotten.
The final straw for me was seeing the Mayor's Facebook page on Tuesday morning stating that all roads in Stratford had been plowed with at least one lane and DPW was going back to finish the job. An outright lie.
If the Mayor based this on information he was given by someone at the EOC or DPW, who is going to be called out for this? Did this get posted by Marc Dillon without approval? If so, Marc Dillon should be packing his desk!
What bothers me even more are that some, if not most, of the areas that were left-behind were those with lower income families -- people who do live paycheck-to-paycheck and depend on their jobs to make their rent payments, put gas in their cars, heat their homes and put food on the table for their families.
They are not the affluent or "entitled" of Stratford, and they don't get personal days, vacation days or sick days when they don't work. They just simply don't get paid.
So when you ask the residents and taxpayers to "be patient," please make sure you're not giving priority to those friends and cronies on both the DTC and RTC and other elected officials. Please make sure you remember who put you there and who is going to be affected when they can't make their rent, mortgage payments, have no heat, electricity because they paid their bills late, have to cut back on food because they missed five days of work!
I heard a story yesterday about a resident of one of Stratford’s senior housing complexes. Her granddaughter kept calling and the phone not picked up. She called the EOC in Stratford and was asked if it was an "emergency." Despite explaining the situation, no one was sent. It took three calls before anyone was sent only to find that the grandmother had fallen and could not get up. How is this right? How can this be explained! How many more stories were there like this that the EOC did not take seriously! Absolutely heartless.
I heard also that streets were marked as plowed when, in fact, they hadn’t been. A friend, who had a disabled daughter being discharged from a New London area hospital, was told when she called the EOC, to put her disabled daughter in a taxi and get her a hotel room. Yet, State Rep. Lawrence Miller, who lives in the same area, had his street plowed on Saturday! Who is being called out on the carpet for this snafu?
While it is great that neighborhoods pooled together with shovels and snowblowers and dug their streets out -- these areas are middle-class taxpayers, hard working people, who couldn't go to work and sat quietly while believing they'd hear a plow really soon. It is sickening to see one street done, while the other surrounding streets are left undone.
Perhaps our plows and DPW vehicles should be equipped with GPS so that residents can check on where they are and what streets are being done. Other towns do it, why can't Stratford!!!???
Now, the Mayor's Office has released a statement stating that all schools are open tomorrow. I just read that the BOE was not consulted! Does one hand ever know what the other hand is doing or are decisions made and statements released before make sure they are accurate?
I certainly hope that many of you decide not to run during the next election. I doubt the left-behind taxpaying residents will forget all of this quickly!
[To submit a letter to the editor, email Stratford Patch editor Jason Bagley at email@example.com.]