If you are a government leader faced with a problem like an early season snowfall you have options on how to confront the situation. You can throw more money and resources into the fight, work smarter, or work harder. Yesterday we had an opportunity to see just how our government works in this regard.
We all know that Governor Malloy raised our taxes more in one increase than any Governor in the past so he obviously believes more money will fix the problems. Having the opportunity to drive from Rhode Island to Coventry, CT during what was a minor snow storm by New England standards I have a perspective now on how things are working out.
What should have been a 90 minute ride was instead a four hour nightmare. The Connecticut Department of Transportation failed miserably in their mission. In one instance they were called to respond to a gasoline tanker truck obstructing traffic and despite telling the caller they were on their way, they failed to show up for well over an hour. (Truth is I left the scene and don’t know how much longer it took them) Cars were abandoned in the middle of route 44 without lights, citizens left their homes to help stranded motorists, and multiple cars were stuck on and off the road.
The Connecticut DOT was nowhere to be seen from Killingly to Coventry on the major state highway for the Quite Corner. They weren’t working harder or smarter but the budget burden for the taxpayers has sure gone up. Could they have done the job? They could have and there is ample evidence they should have. The taxpayers in Coventry CT had services by a public works department that was either a whole lot smarter or worked a lot harder.
After a long grueling grinding drive on Route 44 and 195 it was a blessing to discover the back roads of Coventry CT. where the roads were not only passable but nearly bare of snow. It was clear evidence the Coventry Public Works Department could provide the State DOT a tutorial on how to provide road maintenance during a snowstorm.
I am sure they worked harder because they were at least on the job and in their trucks which was a whole lot more apparent than the drivers employed by the Connecticut DOT. They worked a lot smarter since the job was done and the roads were very acceptable for weather conditions. The best news for taxpayers is that it did not require the largest tax increase in history for it to happen. It did require some man-hours and brain power.
The problem with Mr. Malloy is his vision and judgment. It does not take more money to look out the window and realize it is snowing here in New England and it doesn’t take the largest tax increase in history to maintain our roads. It may require a little more efficiency and a better use of equipment and manpower. If Governor Malloy accepts this level of performance it will be proof once again of his flawed judgment.
The decision to eliminate snow plow driver services for the maintenance of Route 44 only proves that some supervisor or commissioner should be fired for poor judgment on the job. There is no excuse for the driving conditions that put lives at risk yesterday because of poor work performance. If Coventry can do the job so can the State of Connecticut. This should not be tolerated; we paid the price in tax increases now we are justified to expect the services.
One last point about the about the Governor’s judgment concerning State employees. The next time Governor Malloy says the non-essential state workers should stay home during a storm he should also provide them a pink slip to not return. If they are not essential they are a waste expense for the taxpayers to be funding. All jobs and funded positions of State government should be essential or they should be eliminated.