2011-01-07 / Editorial/Opinion

A Breakdown In Management Skills

Let’s face it. The man who built a massive communication business from the ground up and who considers himself the greatest mayor in New York City history did not get the job done when two feet of snow was dumped on New York City in what is being called the “Christmas Blizzard of 2010.” There are many reasons why streets in the outer boroughs were not plowed for several days and all of them can be laid at the doorstep of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his commissioners. First of all, the mayor and his new deputy mayor for operations, Stephen Goldsmith, decided that it was not a good idea to declare a storm emergency, which would have taken all private cars and buses off the streets, making room for plows and emergency vehicles. Bloomberg, who crowed that tourists were still out and enjoying a plowed and groomed Times Square and theater district wanted to give the illusion that all was well and it was business as usual for the city that never sleeps. It was not. Buses were stranded in the deep snow. Emergency vehicles could not get to calls because the streets were clogged with snow and private cars. Secondly, in order to save money, Goldsmith has laid off many of the sanitation workers who would have been available for plow duty as well as the supervisors who watched the private plow operators the city hires in snow emergencies. Goldsmith’s prime directive, to privatize city services, did not work. Many of the private plow operators decided that it was Christmas weekend, and they weren’t going out. Others signed in and disappeared into the swirling snow. At one point on Monday morning, a reporter found a dozen plows sitting on the street near a Manhattan garage. He was told that there were not enough drivers to take the trucks out on the street. A large majority of outer borough streets did not get cleaned until Wednesday, and now everybody looks to Bloomberg for an answer. Perhaps the answer is a simple one. Hire the workers you need to get the job done. Care more for your residents than you do for the tourists. Plan in advance and stick to your plan. The winter is far from over, but Bloomberg has already damaged his legacy. He better do better next time.

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