2008-03-27 / Letters to the Editor

New equipment gets the job done

I read with interest Mr. Willis' letter to the Press last week. It wasn't clear to me if he was talking about things or people. If it is personnel he was writing about, a shorter version of this type of logic might be "Chew them up and then spit them out."

If it is equipment/things, then let us be specific to Jamestown.

In 1972, the town bought a track machine/bull dozer to work at the landfill. When the landfill closed, it was used to help compost materials brought to the transfer station. Each year, because it was wearing out, it got more costly to operate. It got worn out, but we continued to try and make do. Finally we had to do without. What happened was that composting- a very important environmental operation, either didn't get done or became more expensive for the town to accomplish by hiring outside contractors to haul the material away.

The same flawed mentality existed with the rest of the town's equipment. Trucks were worn out, wouldn't start, dangerous to operate and when we needed them the most, could not perform.

Two years ago in one of our snowstorms, five out of six plows were out of service. We had an antiquated backhoe, which we were using to load salt. When one driver finished using it he had to leave it running unattended until the next driver came because if we turned it off we couldn't get it started again.

We now have some decent equipment to work with. When it snows, we can plow, we have a new pay loader which enables us to efficiently load our salt trucks, work on our construction projects, move all kinds of material, and ask Harry at the landfill how much easier it is to compost materials with this new piece of equipment.

The town bought a used street sweeper trying to make do and keep expenses down. The result is it never worked properly, and is very expensive to operate. The age of the piece of equipment made it impossible to get parts to keep it running. End result: streets did not get swept. You cannot provide the type of service a community is entitled to with equipment that is worn out, dilapidated or antiquated.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out to Mr. Willis that in no successful private operation, either on this island or in this country, does any manager operate with the flawed mentality put forth in his letter. UPS, which is the model for all fleet operations nationally and internationally, has been as successful as it is because it operates with a philosophy which is in direct opposite of the negative thinking advocated in Mr. Willis' letter.

Paul Robertson Jamestown Highway Dept.

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