Westfield Resident Tells Town Council DPW Needs Guidance

Westfielder says streets with schools without parking lots should be a priority for leaf and debris collection.

Westfield resident Pamela Orbach spoke before the Town Council Tuesday evening to voice her frustration regarding leaf and debris pick up and to make suggestions on how the Westfield Police Department could improve public safety.

In November of 2011, Orbach spoke before the Council on the same subject, which she noted on Tuesday evening. 

"I understand that you have no control over the Board of Education calling for repeated elections in an election year that cost the town $30,000 each," Orbach stated. "But the Town does have control over other issues. I was here recently to complain about a lack of leadership at public works. Institutional memory, rational thinking? I know they work hard but I believe they need guidance and somebody needs to be setting policy because they still do not seem to act rationally."

Orbach said year after year while serving on the Parent Teacher Council she and others asked that street cleaning near schools be made a priority. 

"Yet, I live in Zone 1 and once again they didn't clear the leaves all around Franklin School," said Orbach, who added that for schools without parking lots leaves and debris cluttering roadways is a problem and not only at Franklin but at McKinley and Wilson as well. "Yet they don't seem to remember from year to year so people can park and park safely."

Orbach said she wished that the Town Council would form a group or that Town Administrator Jim Gildea would "take leadership" of policy setting for the public works department.

The Embree Crescent resident also questioned if there was a policy in place for managing snow removal. She suggested that rather than posting signs, a town-wide policy be set with parking designated on either odd or even sides of the streets so plowing could be completed. She also recommended that residents wishing to have their driveways plowed park in the Memorial Pool lot so as not to obstruct the snowplows.

Orbach said she is also concerned about driving and pedestrian safety in town. She stated that the public perception within the Westfield community is that “it's very unsafe to be a pedestrian here.”

"One reason that people drive their kids everywhere is that they don't trust other drivers,” she said. “I think we have a real problem in awareness of public safety laws.”

Orbach proposed that through “social networking,” police target a specific driving offense, such as idling or failure to yield, on a month-by-month basis and issue warnings. She said she believes this would get residents talking and raise awareness without any cost to the town.

Finally, Orbach said she believes the Town is paying more than it needs to for crossing guards to accommodate parents “who won’t follow the rules.” The 28-year resident said when her children were attending Franklin School they walked the route where a single crossing guard was stationed.

"It’s costing us money to have a crossing guard at every single junction," said Orbach.

klubkleb December 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Good for her! The Westfield DPW is the WORST in the area. They are inept, slow, incompetent. They don't know how to plow snow. They can't collect leaves. The local roads are in poor shape. Too bad Mayor Crewcut doesn't give a darn. The entire department should be replaced.
billy December 13, 2012 at 05:09 PM
After a snow storm there is a visible difference between Westfield and neighboring towns. You can literally see where Westfield stops plowing and a new town starts. Our roads are caked in packed snow and ice while towns right next door are free and clear. For the amount of taxes we as Westfield residents are paying, it is a true travesty.
Claude December 13, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Heard that the DPW throws a helluva Christmas party with booze and food while on company time and on town property. Count me in!
Lord Snot December 14, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Wow...I think you guys are on to something. Public servants should be just that. They should work 7 days a week, not get paid overtaime, not be afforded any fringe benefits - after all why the F should you contribute (via taxes) to someone else's retirement plan or health care premiuim. They should not be allowed vacation days or sick leave - again, why should you pay for them to get sick or take a vacation - its obscence. Heck, why should they even be allowed to consort with sophisticated gentlement like yourself...the nerve, they probably dont have a BMW, let alone a college degree. I think you are really onto to something here - we should be making them feel like the peasants they are!
Westfield Taxpayers December 14, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Its amazing that the DPW gets all their trucks, park on South Ave, or in the South Ave station lot, then go to Hersheys' for breakfast. Hey, I really like Hersheys, they have great egg-and-porkroll sandwiches, but are they really being paid to eat? I agree, there seems to be no accountable manager in DPW. Mr Mayor should ask Mr. Administrator some hard questions. Mr. Administrator seems like the (ir-)responsible one.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »