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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Big Fix

All it took was getting caught and an unflattering exposure in a local newspaper and this publication to make things happen to correct the money saving caper that saw water pipes strewn across the Wynantskill Creek rather than spending time and earning the money we paid to properly bore them several feet under the creek bed.

Yesterday, the Conservative contractor spent the day trying to do the job right. It appears he will have to earn that $12,000 the town paid him with ENCON funds to bore under the creek after all.

Left unresolved is any effort by the Town Board to examine the books of Water 14 related repairs and charges for evidence that the contractor was ever held accountable for shoddy work or damage done to sewer lines while on the job. Also left undone is any effort to hold town employees accountable for the creek fiasco they continue to insist was done right to begin with only to "pop up" because of severe weather. (Yes, look for Mark Evers on the Weather Channel's new "Underground Weather Forecast" weekdays at Noon!)

The construction site holds the key to the truth and no amount of verbal denials can alter the story the scene tells. Just take a close look at this picture and follow the pipe to the bank of the creek. If town officials were telling the truth when they claim the pipes were buried 4 to 5 feet underground by the expensive boring method, you would not see the pipe's entry to the water on the bank of the creek as this picture displays clearly. Instead, that pipe would not be visible above the water line as it entered the creek. It would have instead disappeared beneath the surface prior to the land bank and continued down, out of our sight, the 4 or 5 feet they claim it was buried.

And yep, the Capital District noticed the pipe fiasco as the article from the Troy Record is included in this well read blog called All Over Albany.

Tail Wagging the Dog

So we have to ask ourselves exactly what the town board intends to do about this? The answer appears to be nothing because the town board is afraid the contractor will not endorse their candidacies for re-election with the Conservative Party nod from Party Chairman Michael Casale. They also need to be careful not to upset Conservative Party Committee member Michael Miner who approved the Steamview Lane billing to the sewer district rather than bill his Party Chairman, Casale.

It's the classic "tail wagging the dog" picture with the pooch spilling out thousands of taxpayer dollars because it refuses to stand on its own feet and wag the tail instead.

A Picture of Accountability

Last October, we told you that repair crews were busy fixing a sewer line on Streamview Lane that had been busted by the water contractor who laid his water pipe directly across the broken sewer pipe. You can see on the bottom right of this picture, the water pipe which now runs under what was the broken sewer pipe. It runs under the water pipe because the private contractor hired to fix the break installed angle pipe and collars to the broken sewer pipe, reconnecting it over the newly installed water pipe and reattaching it to the other side of the break.

By all accounts a nice repair, but Conservative Committeeman Michael Miner who is supposed to be in charge of the Building Department even though he is a part of the union whose members he is supposed to be supervising, charged the repair to the taxpayers of the Wynantskill Sewer District. We believe the repair to be over $5,000 and neither he, or his Utilities Inspector Mr. Patti, said a word to make sure the contractor was charged for the damaged he did to the sewer pipes.

This is just one example on display today with many more repairs to come that one would reasonably question why none were ever charged back to the contractor who likely caused the repairs to be made. In the days ahead you'll see these bills and begin to ask yourself the same questions we're asking. Why would town officials consistently fail to charge the contractor for repairs he caused? Why, Why, Why$


Anonymous said...

great job of reporting and in turn forcing the town to do the right thing. there still needs to be federal intervention in to this whole mess. this is somwthing the f.b.i. would take on as i've seen them involved with this type of malfeasance. also it appears that the required seperation between the sewer and water lines isn't what it should be. this is very very important. this is a real threat to everyone served by the water line. sickness and even death could be a big problem if the sewer line broke as it has in other parts of this job. bad,bad,bad.........

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least Casale is keeping the local tow truck companies in business.

I can't tell you how many people crashed their cars into the ditch on Sharpe road this winter, due to the underground spring that is leaking, then freezing, on the road - thanks to Casale's attention to detail.