Valley Viewpoints: A hearty thank you

A hearty thank you from Al Squitieri

There is so much negative comment piling up around here, and maybe rightfully so, but I’m sure if we dig deep enough we will find a pony in the pile somewhere.

“It’s not all bad, if you look for the good” “ A positive thought, negates the negative!”

“It’s easier to tear down, then to build up, but you have something to show for the latter!”

Our Fulton budget for most departments has been cut trying to keep up with the growing cost of running this city. We can all name at least three line items that are near wiping us out, but I’m not here to discuss that.

If so, this piece would go on for pages, and the rebuttals will be endless. So let me use my limited strength and brain power to say something positive about at least one operation of our once great and industrious city.

Our work crews have been cut in most, if not all departments. I will not get into departments such as sanitation and snow removal, since I have some issues with them, and want to keep this positive.

But, sanitation is on my bad list because my trash cans, not returned were found, are rolling in the street, and can covers are used as Frisbees. The snow plow drivers will get no Christmas cards from me, since they laugh going by my driveway, while I stand with shovel in hand, watching them fill in what I just cleaned.

Worse, is being chased up my driveway by a one ton plow, seemingly driven by a young kid with a permit to kill, or at least tear up lawns. May this coming season find THEIR driveways filled to overflowing, and their trash cans going topless.

The department I want to thank for hard work, steadfast service and ability to work under all weather conditions, is the sewer and water department crew. They believe neither rain, nor snow, nor mud or sewage will keep them from swinging their banjos.

I guess I favor the ditch diggers because as a near 50-year Master Licensed Plumber, they are of my brotherhood. The labor performed on repairs and replacements of sewer lines and water lines throughout the city are done with half the staff it once had, down from eight or more, to four, including a working foreman.

Let me meet the rebuttals in advance. True, they get paid for what they do, but what is left is busting the rear ends out their Carhartts.

I watched this crew for three days, jack hammer, dig, suck mud, snake and search, finding a busted storm sewer line, which is more then half century old. I know of what I speak, we have water lines dating back over 130 years, and I’m sure Oneida, Onondaga and Iroquois Indians were helping lay the – in some areas, undersized pipe lines.

Did our under staffed crew complain about the rain, or flooding the night before? No. The hole was no larger then 10 feet by 20 feet, but they found the problem, made the repair, and had the intersection open to traffic every night. Replacement is out of the question because needed infrastructure money is nil, and budget money is spent elsewhere. So dig we must, and repair we will.

 A lot of words to say thank you, and bring attention to a work crew that does their job, and does it well with pride and respect.

I gain nothing from this letter of platitudes, nor unneeded votes (not a candidate), but I do know some of them through many years in Fulton, working along side of them on occasion, although most of the old-school men are gone.

The four man crew consists of the leader, John Pawlewicz, Messrs. Lanning, Roffo and Hogan, with occasional help brought in from sanitation, namely Schimpff and Hart. All men having great respect for their boss, and he toward them.

So readers, when you see theses projects going on seemly simultaneously around the city, it is not an army of workers, but the same four Ground Hogs plus two, doing them all.

It’s Pawlewicz’s Dirty Half Dozen. So when you pass one of these job sites, a thank you or nod will be appreciated.

Al D. Squitieri


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