Valley Viewpoints

A few bad apples

Let me make myself perfectly clear, this is not an apology, but a correction.

What I wrote in my last article (Valley News July 2) is still true, and I stand by it. I will offer again, fact, and clarification of those points missed.

With limited space, I wrote about a single crew on the city staff that handles the sewer and water repairs in Fulton. I did not have time or space to elaborate on ALL departments, giving credit to all city employees.

I thanked the team for their service under poor conditions, the most important being less funding for infrastructure, needed to keep this city in trouble free and safe working condition. That important point was missed, a lot of money going elsewhere in our unbalanced budget, taking away from the needed funding for maintenance.

However, a couple employees were upset because, in a few limited words, I mentioned one department upsetting residents in the city, that being Sanitation, or trash removal. The point made and resented was one of the departments was making due on short funds and manpower, which may be true in other departments as well. Point also missed.

The complaint about my unfairness, while they denied the truth, was my mentioning the fact that trash cans are flung from the middle of the street, towards the property it came from. This is not new, it’s gone on for years, and dozens if not hundreds of residents, all wards, have placed complaints with City Hall and the DPW.

I refuse to listen to the denial that it is untrue. The fact remains, the complaints are well known, going back half dozen administrations. Bring me no Welcome Wagon, I’m not new to Fulton.

It may be laughable to a hand full of bad apples, but not to residents retrieving trash cans and lids, blowing down the street, or costly replacement of lost or damaged cans.

Blaming the “Wind” doesn’t work, when cans are left rolling around in the road or driveway. That is destruction of private property. This is a factual problem.

I’ve heard from customers, neighbors and many even since the last piece. The excuse has always been, “they are in a hurry.” Poor excuse. Walk the cans back to the curb, instead of causing reason for filed complaints.

Now the correction. True, most employees, older men, and some younger, many of whom I know by name for many years, place them where they belong, often upside down. Some go out of their way to offer extra service.

I regularly sweep the curbs around my corner, collecting debris of all kinds, including dropped garbage from nearby fast food joints. More then once the Good Apples have taken street trash off my hands.

Good deeds work both ways. They are the good apples. And I thank them personally when possible. But, there are one or two rotten apples making the rest of the barrel appear bad.

My correction is making it clear that most are reliable, hard workers, doing so in poor weather, all seasons, all departments and above all, respectful of residents and their property. It is the supervisors job to remove the few bad ones, not coddle them, or laugh it off together.

They can be warned, if you throw trash cans, you will be fired. Period. Fact, couple of young summer helpers had been let go for that problem. Again proof of fact denied.

I’m not alone here. One caller insisted it happens year round. Another suggested Private Hauler, one truck, one driver, their containers.

The warning of dismissal has to be enforced at time of hiring, explaining clearly and emphatically job requirements, namely, respect for private property. Guaranteeing employees faithfully doing their jobs will not be blanketed with misplaced blame.

In summary and clarification, the large majority of city employees are doing a great job, and not to say other departments are not worthy of praise.

All large employment operations have rotten apples that have to be found and removed, allowing the good workers praise and thanks they deserve.

Al D. Squitieri, Sr.

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