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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All In A Day's Work

You would think after a scathing audit of Water District 14 by the State Comptroller and all the millions overspent on the contract held by a company which also boasts control of the town's Conservative Party and it's political endorsements, that folks managing our money and the contract would try to be competent and conscientious in completing the work and spending the last 1.2 million dollars supposedly needed to finish it. Yes, you'd think the town inspector who is supposed to be on site approving the work, his superiors in the Building Department who supervise him and the town's contractual engineer who has been grabbing free health insurance for the past 4 years at town expense which he has no right to, would also be a bit more careful.

But no, you just can't teach an old dog new tricks and competence is not a learned trait when you need to hide behind unions and political friends to stay on the public dole. So even though many a jaw did drop upon viewing this Water 14 main thrown across the Wynantskill Creek along William Street behind the Vila Valente Restaurant off Snyder's Lake Road, frankly there can no longer be an expression of shock when hearing or seeing more malfeasance in Water 14. It's the gift to town taxpayers that just keeps giving to the contractor and the town employees who make a living off it. If the pipe isn't obvious enough, just click on the picture for vivid enlargement.

We just can't imagine what the gang was thinking when they ran this primary water line across the Wynantskill Creek, a protected trout stream covered by state environmental laws. Could the contractor and the town officials who winked at the creation figured it's no worse than a family of beavers creating a little obstacle in a stream? Maybe they figured a little anti-freeze in the pipes would prevent it from freezing and bursting? Perhaps they never thought that the pipe itself would eventually succumb to the weight and force of trapped debris and the force of water if left to become a single step foot bridge for playful kids? Seriously though, you have to wonder why a town official would permit a contractor to do something like this, look the other way while the contractor engages in such egregious conduct? We're afraid the only way we'll see a truthful answer to that question is with a federal investigation which determines whether pockets were lined here and who knows where else.

Well, the truth is we just don't know what the boys were thinking either in town hall or out in the field. We do know we paid for it, every penny of it and if we recall correctly, this baby was part of a change order recently approved by the town board because they could not run the line across a nearby bridge that was likely to be demolished. The thought was, the line would have to go under the stream, so the town would have to pay extra to accomplish this, after all, you can't just run it through the stream, the dam thing could freeze or break, create a debris field, contaminate the entire pipeline, you know, common sense stuff.

But nope, they just couldn't wait to get their hands on our money, so anxious that they couldn't even wait to bury the dam pipe. But what is truly amazing is that while water pipes are run across the creek bed, the Supervisor is asking for 1.5 million in federal stimulus funds to, yes, DREDGE parts of the Wynantskill Creek! We presume he does not plan to dredge the newly installed pipes along the creek bed.

Our beaver hunting, trout catching observers did some casting with a 35 millimeter lens as evidenced by the exclusive photo undoubtedly being read by officials at ENCON in Albany as they sip their morning java, citation book at the ready. In case you're wondering what the area looks like and where it is, you can see the stream running between Village Road and Williams Street off of Snyder's Lake Road behind Vila Valente Restaurant in this Live Map image. The red push pin labeled #2 at the very end of Village Road is the location of the water pipe.

For those in need, the address of town hall is 2 Douglas Street off Main Avenue. The Conservative Supervisor is Mark Evers. His fellow contractor supported, Conservative Party endorsed, Town Board members are Ernie Kern and Lou Desso. The Building Department has a couple of Conservative Party Committee persons posing at competent employees. Naa, you'll figure out who they are when they try to tell you stuff like this should be excused, just like the millions of dollars overspent on the contract that the department head once said in a memo was based on a "supposed price", not a firm contract price. Here's the memo if you need more morning laughs. It sure explains why they allowed the contractor to turn a bid into a virtual lottery strike.

By the way, be sure to send in your payment for a recent bill from these folks for "Operation and Maintenance" for Water 14. That's the money that keeps folks in green with those by-weekly pay checks, expensive insurance buy outs, longevity bonuses and fancy decaled town vehicles of course, repairs of contractor "errors". Hey, anybody seen a retirement waiver?


Anonymous said...

Isn't this just one of the quesitonable actions of the installation of the water district? I've heard reports of free piping to Classie Lassie's as well as Casalle just breaking through culverts rather than implementing the project the right way.

Anonymous said...