The Westfield DPW provides a service to the taxpaying residents of Westfield. One such service is clearing snow from public sidewalks and roadways.
Westfield Town Ordinance Section 24-5 "Removal of snow and ice from sidewalks" states, "The owner, tenant, or occupant of any premises abutting a street shall remove all snow from the sidewalks abutting any portion of said premises within 24 hours after the snow has ceased to fall. Where ice is frozen to the sidewalk, it shall be removed or shall be treated with salt or other ice melt product."
If residents are required to remove snow and treat ice, that has fallen on their sidewalks, shouldn't the Town be required to do the same? How about removing snow and ice from public roadways?
There is nothing in the town ordinance that states residents are exempt from removing 2.9 inches of snow or ice from their sidewalks but yet there seems to be a standard set by DPW Superintendent Greg O'Neil that Westfield roadways will not be plowed unless 3 inches of snow has fallen. We all saw what happened in November when streets weren't plowed.......a commuting nightmare.
Yesterday's "snow event" is the third such storm since last November. The first storm in November crippled traffic making 30 minute commutes into harrowing 6 hour ordeals all because of a lack of preparation and plowing.
Employees of the Westfield DPW were "sticking around" on overtime yesterday waiting for snow to turn to rain or to be directed out into the early evening to commence plowing. They sat collecting overtime while the storm winded down, with no intent by the DPW superintendent to have them plow Westfield's streets due to the lack of a "plowable event" of less than 3 inches of snow accumulation.
The bilking of overtime is not new in Westfield. Most recently, TFoTM spotlighted the alleged bilking of overtime by some DPW workers that were clocking into work while clocking co-workers in, co-workers that were allegedly not at work, until up to an hour later. This practice also allegedly took place at the end of workdays where employees would leave for the day but would not clock out. A co-worker would stay late, sometimes until an hour or two later, while maintaining a list of coworkers names and employee ID numbers to be punched into the time clock garnering all the employees unearned overtime.
TFoTM has obtained two photos of two separate lists of names and employee ID numbers identifying the employees that had their names punched into the Department of Public Works time clock while allegedly not at work. Town officials were notified months ago of the alleged thefts. The employees involved in the alleged thefts still remain employed. What investigation, if any, took place? The photo shown here has the employee names redacted by TFoTM.
The Fact of The Matter applauds the genuine effort of each DPW worker tasked with maintaining Westfield's parks, roadways, and other public property despite decisions made by department heads and the actions of corrupt employees.
The squandering of overtime, whether by theft of by the inept decision making of a department head, cost Westfield taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars each year.