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Mar 13

No Snowflake In An Avalanche Ever Feels Responsible

Comments (5) 12:30 PM posted by admin |

The following is a joint statement from Council member Pete Murdock and myself regarding the recent snow ordinance and its implementation.

The recent uproar over the City’s implementation of the snow removal ordinance has been embarrassing, frustrating and maddening. A policy with wide community support to make our walks safe and usable in the winter and what seemed like a fairly simple implementation process has become completely FUBAR’d. We apologize for this situation and any inconveniences or heartburn this may have caused anyone. We appreciate the patience folks had while we tried to sort fact from fiction in following up all the concerns and experiences people shared with us. The process is sometimes slower and less visible than one might like, but your concerns were not ignored.

The obvious conclusion is that the implementation and oversight of this program was horrid. The City can not vouch with any degree of certainty that notices of abatement were actually delivered or any abatement work was actually done. Consequently, all invoices for abatement have been cancelled, an employee has resigned, the contract for the snow removal service will be bid out, and the City Administration has been put on notice that this lack of oversight is unacceptable.

Moving forward, the entire snow removal implementation process is under review to remove any of the shortcomings that have became evident. Many of the suggestions we received will be incorporated. Snow removal is really up to all of us and we would enlist the involvement of the community through the neighborhood, commercial, and rental owners associations to publicize the rationale and the potential consequences of the snow removal ordinance. We would like to concentrate our efforts on walkways to schools, commercial areas, and other areas of high pedestrian traffic coupled with an effective complaint based system, and we would like to see some changes that would target scofflaws and recidivists that consistently ignore this ordinance.

Spring is almost upon us, and we should have sufficient time to get this right for next snow season. As always, any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Pete Murdock
City Council, Ward 3
pmurdock@cityofypsilanti.com
734.485.7799

Brian Robb
City Council, Ward 3
brobb@cityofypsilanti.com
734.485.9122

The final report from the Assistant City Manager regarding the snow abatement investigation may be found HERE.

5 Comments »

  1. Comment by howdryiam
    March 13, 2009 @ 4:39 pm


    Thank you. Apology accepted.

  2. Comment by Lynne Fremont
    March 13, 2009 @ 8:47 pm


    Thank you for taking the time to look into this and for taking complaints seriously. I am especially pleased with the outcome here and look forward to the clean walks that are surely going to be the result of proper implementation of the city’s ordinance.

  3. Comment by Steve
    March 14, 2009 @ 9:44 am


    It takes money to make money. In the future make sure the proper resources to handle a large complex task are effectively in place. Ron was put in a situation that he (or anyone) could not effectively handle on his own. That doesn’t excuse his behavior. He should have spoken sooner that he did not deliver all (or hardly any) notices.

    “She estimated the money due to A.M. could be more than $10,000”

    Ridiculous. Especially that there is no written contract with them. No “not to exeed” amount, no prevailing wage, non-collusive affidavid, no beginning or end of contract date, no details of what the contractor does, etc.. Someone let them loose with no conditions or oversight. And knowing how A.M. “operates” one could expect the absolute power granted them to corrupt them.

    A bittersweet conclusion. But there are still unanswered questions. I still am upset that I had to spend quite a lot of time on this, or few would have. It was really upsetting to watch council and mayor march lockstep with staff and effectively help this debacle along. Perhaps you learned something. I hope.

  4. Comment by brobb
    March 15, 2009 @ 11:00 am


    Let me get this straight.

    Are you suggesting that an employee whose job it was to put notices on doors and didn’t do so was not given the proper resources?

    As far as the number goes, A&M will not be paid for properties that lacked a picture.

  5. Comment by Paul
    March 15, 2009 @ 3:25 pm


    Steve, This was not a large complex task. The pizza flyer dudes are able to do this every day.

    You said the City didn’t give him the resources needed to do the job.

    The City gave him the paper, the copy machine, the computer, the office, the desk, a chair, the uniform, the boots, the keys and a truck.

    What resources did the city fail to give the guy so he could do his job?

    He has already been to every property because he told his boss those properties didn’t remove the snow.

    How hard is it to go back to the same places you have already been and stick a notice on the door? Apparently pretty damn hard.

    Thank god we have Special K there as City Manager. He’s my hero.

    Steve, the same people that were responsible for supervising snow shoveling, are the very same people responsible for getting us out of the Water Street fiasco.

    These are people you can trust to get things done.

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