Wednesday, July 30, 2008

08/09 Capital budget - Public Works - non-sewer infrastructure

Speaking of the DPW and roads... did any of you catch the Council meeting where there was information provided on a "pavement management system?" I'm pretty sure I haven't uploaded it to google yet, but I intend to question the value in buying the software.

Tim White

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Town Toys - - -

“A full size four-wheel drive dump truck equipped with plow, all season’s winter package, and backup camera. One or two such trucks necessary to service steeper plow routes, and specialized construction projects.”

What’s going on in town? First the number and variety of public works vehicles in town seems never ending. The sheer number seems stupefying to say the least for a town of this size. How come no one ever publishes a list of all the public works and town owned vehicles including their condition, accrued mileage, and salvage values?

Second, since the town began plowing almost a hundred years ago it seems to have managed, even when roads were not as good as they are today with simple chains on the rear wheels of plow trucks. So, what has changed, too much work putting chains on the truck tires before the storm?

Cheshire needs 2 full size 4 wheel drive dumps for specialized construction projects like Bush needs a 3rd term in the White House! Got a project in mind needing one, lease it and charge it to the project. Better yet, go out for competitive bids to have the work done by some firm that routinely uses that type of equipment.

tim white said...

Better yet, go out for competitive bids

be careful what you wish for!

Anonymous said...

Tim- -

Let’s not wish for $630,000 for a couple of really special dump trucks so that we don’t have to go out for competitive bids. We blow almost a million on 2 trucks and maybe they are used a couple of times in 10 years. Nonsensical at best.

If members of the council are concerned over the competitive bidding process, well you are in charge of what goes on in this town and now would be a perfectly wonderful time to fix what seems to be broken. Add it to the council decorum issue. Maybe we need training not only for new council members but as a condition for continued employment for all town employees annually at all levels, complete with written testing. Hire an outside training firm to implement it.

Anonymous said...

I think of they are asking for $630,00 for these trucks, they need to be more specific on what the uses will be for.
They say to plow "steeper plow routes", what have they been using in the past and why isn't it good enough now?
They say to use the truck for "specialized contruction projects", what are they? What do they think they may be?
This sounds like me going out to buy a brand new pickup truck to plow my driveway 6 times a year and to go to the dump 3 times. I can't afford it.
Fot the few times they need a dump truck, have they looked into renting or using an alternative method?
This all sounds like Mike Ecke's "wish list", which this town can't afford.
Has anyone put in a permanent roof structure for the pool in their budget?

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need training not only for new council members but as a condition for continued employment for all town employees annually at all levels, complete with written testing. Hire an outside training firm to implement it.
All for it...... First you would have to negotiate the "mandatory" training and testing with each bargaining unit, to include bonus's for successful completion. Pay the overtime to replace members in training. Develop a training specific plan for each department. Put a training program prosepectus out to bid to vendors. D

Anonymous said...

Tim, Will you be posting the Dept. of Education's capital budget requests?

Anonymous said...

10:46 a.m. you have a point.

Why not offer a simple reward for successful completion of training? I’m sure the negotiators from all sides wouldn’t have a problem with this since overall the town gains better performance in areas like competitive bidding processes. The workers get to spend some time away from the actual job in a classroom.

It could be as simple and understandable as failure to successfully complete annual retraining equals no more employment. Many of us out in industry work through such arrangements year after year. Why should highly paid municipal employees with great benefits packages fail to embrace this concept if it results in better performance of the organization?

Anonymous said...

highly paid municipal employees ?
failure to successfully complete annual retraining equals no more employment.
negotiators from all sides wouldn’t have a problem.
Apparently you have never negotiated with a Municipal Entity. Further Union's have protections in place that dont allow for immediate dismissal. Also how do you compensate Municipal Employees without passing the cost on to taxpayers?
Also, only the Administration and BOE are highly paid, all other employees are at or below thier counterparts in other towns - Ct. Confrence of Municipalities has the data to indicate that

Anonymous said...

Testing would be great. The first people to fail will be supervisors and the department head, and then you are right, the organization will get better!!!

Anonymous said...

Its great to see that people here have so much faith in the people that work hard to serve the public. Why would anyone want to work in this town? It is filled with self important, pompous, and arrogant people, who know everything, but choose to do nothing and criticize those who do something.

Anonymous said...

It's time for Department Heads, the TM and the Council Members to deal with reality.

The reality that the W/S Mall is dead has not sunk in. It's the economy stupid and with all the energy problems, loss of jobs, foreclosures, bank failure and a non-ending war, it should not take a genius to see that the mall was a bad idea then and even worse now. Just like the previous mall plans, this mall is dead, dead, dead and you won't see one there in the next 20 years.

We have already hired 2 police officers for the mall. It's time to wake up and not expand any more infrastructure based on the plan that a large scale retail development will occur in the interchange zone. Can anyone imagine any financial institution, that is not in serious trouble, financing another mall that can't get tenants.

Anonymous said...

Instead of buying more trucks to remove the snow(if it falls) why don't we look into using that solution that melts the snow as it falls. It worked great on many state roads last year and no sand to sweep in the spring. It's worth a look.

Anonymous said...

7:29 p.m. seems to dislike the pompous arrogant people here and can’t understand why anyone, i.e. town municipal employees, would want to work here. I guess one needs to keep in mind that the supposed pompous arrogant people can also be described as tax payers with deep pockets. In the end they are good for something, they pay for everything with their hard earned dollars. As for our municipal employees certainly for some reason they like it so much they hardly ever leave. That is until some really great retirement package is floated.

Anonymous said...

We have already hired 2 police officers for the mall - no new officers have been hired for the mall. the recent surge in hiring as I remember it, was to fill existing vacancies due to 2 retirements and 2 departures.

Breachway said...

Meanwhile there was a Town work truck at the intersection of Maple Ave and Rt 10(by the gas station) for 2 days working on the landscaping...I said it before...why not subcontract the landscaping out...you wouldnt see my lawn service taking 2 days to weed flowers/cut grass....or better yet..plant something that doesn't need so much care.

Anonymous said...

"tax payers with deep pockets. In the end they are good for something, they pay for everything with their hard earned dollars."
I live in town and work for the town. I still manage to treat people with respect in every aspect of my life. I do not take for granted the services provided me, from garbage men to my doctors, all with respect. Many people of this town feel they are entitled to belittle and abuse the town employees because they "pay their salary". You get what you give - I am sure if I followed the majority of peolpe to their private industry jobs, I could find many things to complain about how they spend thier day. (weeding for two days). How often do people of this town take the time to thank or appreciate the town employees. I am sure when your street is plowed allowing you to go to work safely, or you are escorted to the ailse and shelf for the book you are looking for, or the teacher stays after to assist your student, or an officer comes assist you during an accident, you are not thinking of the time or the commitment. You are just entitled to that service, you "pay their salary". But when a town employee is "weeding for two days", or helping someone else at the library, or giving you a ticket - that same person deserves to be bashed beacuse you "pay their salary". Oddly enogh when I go to the doctors I dont bash the staff even though I pay their salary, I appreciate the professionalism even if it is not always to my liking. For so many people with comments in these blogs, the council chambers look oddly empty during meetings, and yes I attend many. But after all it is easier to criticize than to get involved

Breachway said...

anon 4:35:

I wasnt bashing anyone when I said that there was a worker landscaping for 2 days. I also didnt say the person was weeding..I said weed flowers/cut grass...although he probably was weeding...so if he was weeding for my company, i would think of a better use for a salaried employee. I also don't think I pay his/her salary(although my taxes do) and I do go to TC meetings. I have also dropped off a cold drink on several occassions to an officer I passed working a street detail, said thanks when I recvd a ticket once, called a dept head when I recvd good service/help at the dump and prodded my high school age child to volunteer at the library once a week to help out. i can't think of any negative encounters I have had with any town personnel. I am just voicing a little common sense reagrding the landscaping as I called the town before about this in the past. I do know what you are talking about though and I guess its something that comes with being a town employee. I guess thats what you get paid all that money for----just kidding.

Anonymous said...

There are good and bad employees in both the private and public sector. Thanks to all the good ones. Yes people should get more involved and offer some positive solutions to our towns challenges.

Anonymous said...

when I was a kid and times were tough in my family my mom made do with second hand stuff.

Would it be "pompous" and "arrogant" to suggest the Town of Cheshire do likewise in the midst of a recession?

Anonymous said...

I’d bet if you asked town residents if it were time to “make do with second hand stuff “ you’d get one answer and it wouldn’t be the answer you’d receive from town employees if they were asked the same question. Maybe a recession is what it takes to get everyone on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear. The employees are not the ones making the decision to buy anything. They work with what they have available. The upper level employees decide what to purchase and budget for, sometimes foolishy.

tim white said...

The employees are not the ones making the decision to buy anything.

Anecdotally, I have spoken with town staff who live in town and prefer to fix things rather than "buy new." But those conclusions (whether they are appropriate or not) have (as I understand it) at times been overridden by people above their paygrade. (I'm definitely not speaking in absolute terms here in any sense.)

Personally, my preference is to fix things rather than to buy new.

Nonetheless, IMO, any particular such disagreement between staff and management is not necessarily my concern. I'm a member of a policy board and shouldn't be involved in particular differences. That's why there's an organizational structure with a CEO.

However, there is a problem here:

The Democratic Rubber Stamp Council

that starts making charges of "micromanaging" the town's management at the slightest hint of directing the TM to do virtually anything. (For example, my call for uploading Council video to the web.)

As another example, for years I had asked about the town's take home vehicle policy. I'd usually do this during committee meetings that are off camera. And the treatment I get there is quite different from anything you'd see on camera... a typical reaction would be staff getting noticeably irritated and the Rubber Stampers ignoring my questions. Effectively, I'd be told I wasn't looking for those droids and the various Council committee chairs would just move along. Of course ignoring this particular issue recently changed, but only because of huge voter concern... so it was entirely reactionary (no forethought) and was just another example of a failure of leadership... both in failing to represent the public and ensuring "decorum" in committee meetings.

Anyway... there are ee's who try to pinch pennies. But the tone is set at the top... all the way at the top with the Council