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Mayor to Impose New Plowing System

New system would be simpler to manage, mayor says.

Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy says she will implement a new, much simpler system to clear snow from the city’s roads.

McCarthy, who announced on Feb. 12 that she would not seek another term, told Waltham Patch she plans to impose a new system under which four private contractors would plow the city’s streets, instead of the current system, which has many contractors covering different sections of the city. City-owned trucks and crews operate mostly on city-owned land. 

Also, McCarthy said she plans to switch to paying contractors on a per-inch basis instead of the current hourly rates. She said her new system would make supervision of contractors easier because the city would only oversee four instead of the 20-plus currently used. 

"The system needs to be changed. I apologize to the citizens of Waltham for the mess,” McCarty said, referring to the snow that remained on city streets days after the storm. “I will take full responsibility for the screw-up of the storm.”

McCarthy prevously blamed private contractors for the mess. 

The mayor’s comments came in the wake of several city councilors criticizing her response to the storm, including City Councilor Tom Stanley, who said he is considering running for mayor in the 2015 election.

"It's a planning and a management issue, specifically the lack of planning from the corner office,” Stanley said. "She makes virtually all the decisions in the city. She is a micromanager. One person does not know the best way to do everything."

According to Stanley, McCarthy has repeatedly not filled requests for additional snow removal equipment that could improve the city’s plowing efforts. He also said McCarthy has not filled Consolidated Public Works positions over the years leaving only a “handful” of city workers to help clear snow.

According to a copy of the 2013-2018 capital improvement plan, requests include a Bobcat, a Bobcat with a snow removal blade and a trackless tractor. All would be purchased in 2018, but the plan currently lacks funding. Stanley said the city’s Long-Term Debt Committee will discuss the issue soon.

When asked about the plan, McCarthy said she and Purchasing Agent Joseph Pedulla are assessing the condition of city-owned vehicles and will determine which ones will be surplused. McCarthy also said she would not consider making snow removal a completely in-house operation. McCarthy, however, said she would be willing to examine the cost of hiring new workers and equipment for such a system.

McCarthy said a prior mayor privatized the snow removal system to save the city money. That, she said, led to thinner CPW ranks and fewer workers to plow streets.

FUTURE STORM PLANS

With the storm over, City Councilor Ken Doucette said the city should focus on improving its response to future storms. Doucette said he visited several areas of the city on Monday, Feb. 11, and noticed they still were not clear. He said he was worried firefighters and police officers would not have been able to safely make it to some parts of the city. He also said he was concerned about children walking to school in the street because some sidewalks had not been cleared by Tuesday night.

"This does lay on the mayor and the CPW director," Doucette said.

The City Council plans to have Pedulla, McCarthy and CPW Director Michael Chiasson review the issues at its Tuesday, Feb. 19, meeting. Stanley has also asked for Chiasson to gather snowstorm response plan information from other towns and report back to the Council. 

Fred Muckle February 13, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Really... So here is the Dictator at her best. She will Get Input from no one. She has no experience. She will do what SHE wants and if it fails she will blame everyone else. Instead of getting input... she will do what SHE wants. Why is Purchasing looking at the equipment? Why not talk to CPW and Public vehicles to find out what needs to be done. She will get the info SHE wants and we will be no better off than we were... Thank goodness she is leaving.
Molly February 13, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Can we put the blame game aside for just one second and get the roads and sidewalks fixed that need to be fixed? I would be much more impressed with anyone (mayor, councilor, whoever) who was proactive in getting someone out in a bobcat cutting walkways out of snowbanks and getting Main Street back to the proper number of lanes, whether it is supposed to be their job or not. I don't care whose fault it is or whose responsibility it is, just fix it already.
Prospect301 February 13, 2013 at 05:43 PM
So let's get this straight. The city goes from overseeing 20+ contractors to overseeing just four. Four contractors who will then in turn subcontract out their work out to the other 16+?
Matt Carter February 13, 2013 at 07:18 PM
New Equipment for DPW in 2018? 5 YEARS! Ha, What a Joke. Half the DPW equipment is from the early 90's, its beat up, its breaking down, the back yard looks like a bone yard with broken down equipment and trucks. 5 Years until new Equipment. She has not bought anything in 2 Years so 7 Years without new Equipment. Be lucky if half the stuff lasts another 7 Months! Just wait till next Winter. This gets more and more ridiculous year after year. She is such a micro manager.
Walthamresident February 13, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Maybe she could start with Lexington street and make it 2 lanes instead of 1. The snow completely covers 1 lane on lexington street in many areas.
Hockey Mom February 13, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Nothing for Nothing Mayor but the four large contractors are the ones who's streets are like crap, they just sub out the work to other guys who don't have the insurance and could'nt get the contract on their own, the smaller contractors do an awesome job. Maybe you should look into who does what street and check out thier streets before you make some big changes. Its usually the smaller guys who care about their work and they are always the ones to get burnt. The big guys are just looking at the $$$$$
Waltham mama February 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM
A plow came to my neighborhood Friday night and we did not get plowed again until Saturday afternoon!! Crazy!!! Where were they all night/ all day? I have never experienced this in my 30+ years in Waltham! It's Wednesday and it still is awful!!
Linda February 14, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Our ward councilor, Joseph Giordano, took his snowblower to our neighborhood bus stop this afternoon and cleared the sidewalks and bus stop apparently after a frustrating morning trying to get this situation rectified! Thank you Joe G.!
chief brody February 16, 2013 at 09:03 AM
I have the solution to the plowing problem.put a plow on the trolly that is sitting up at the cemetery,put a good st of chains on it so it wont get stuck.then get dave sanderson to drive it!then he can drive it up to the extended stay hotels up on third av and load up the trolly full of shovelers to help with the snow removal efforts.
MF87 February 18, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Thank you at least someone appreciates the smaller contractors who end up fixing the big contractors poor performance

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