Saturday, June 21, 2008

Slash Buster on the Loose

Town Highway Superintendent Wayne Kelder recently sent out this public notice:

June 17, 2008
Open letter to the owners of property that have frontage on Town of Rochester Highways.
As is stated in the Highway Town Law of the State of New York, the Highway Superintendent is responsible for the removal of obstructions including brush from the Highway.
Please accept this letter as notification that the highway department will be complying with this law and doing brush cutting thru out the town on all of Rochester owned & maintained Highway.
Thank you,
Wayne F. Kelder
Highway Superintendent

This notice was the result that Mr. Kelder made to the community in response to a number of complaints (and lawsuits) against the time that came about as a result of the Highway Departments aggressive use of a machine affectionately called the "Slash Buster." Road crews use the machine to indiscriminately cut brush that is near the road, frequently leaving a path of destruction in its path. As a result of these complaints, Mr. Kelder promised the community that he would notify people on the roads where clearing was to take place. This first started out as promising to put signs up on the roads so that residents could more carefully clear brush themselves. There was also talk about sending written notice to people on the affected streets by mail. Evidently, Mr. Kelder has stepped back from the intent and spirit of the notice and resumed his arrogant stance of "I'll do what I want and no one will stop me."

The general notice posted above, serves little purpose and does little to assuage or prevent the very high emotions that residents will suffer when their sometimes prized landscaping is devastated by the Slash Buster and the indiscriminate cutting of larger trees without notice. The Town has had to defend many lawsuits and has settled a few, costing untold taxpayers untold $thousands. There has been no issue in any neighborhood that has created so much ill will toward our town officials.

We fully understand the need for cutting back brush and of pruning trees that are in danger of obstructing roads. Recent power failures resulting from violent storms underscore this point. The Highway Department workmen on Mr. Kelder's staff do an excellent job on all aspects of road maintenance in our town.

The point we're making is that there should be a GOOD FAITH effort by the Highway Superintedent to notify residents of upcoming work on their streets. So the next time you see Mr. Kelder, ask him about it. In the meantime, keep an eye out on your own road frontage.


Toni said...

You really must have too much time on your hands to continually try to ignite and disparage someone's reputation. Wayne wouldn't have to do anything, if the people took care of thier trees in the first place as not to indanger the rest of us. If they cared about their neighbors instead of only themselves they wouldn't let it get as far as someone else coming into do it for them (on the taxpaayers buck no less) or was that the goal in the first place to put Wayne or any public offical in a dammed if he does, dammed if he doesn't catch 22 situation just so you or others like you can squark about how you may need advanced warning and are the victims. Yuk.. What else or who else are you going to be petty about next? It's getting old, counter productive and beat since it's so negative all the time. Don't we get enough of that on the news, sorry to say, daily? Toni

Jeff said...

The "Watch" blogger has a decent point: Town officials serve us - a refrain we heard over and over from disgruntled citizens during the Duke administration. If several citizens would like and have asked for advance notice before brush is cleared, and if Mr. Kelder promised such, then those citizens deserve it. It's really that simple - whether I agree with those citizens or not. And if it's true that numerous lawsuits have gone before the town costing us tax money when those lawsuits otherwise could have been easily avoided, then that's a point we all should take note of, too - regardless of how much we appreciate Wayne or any other official.

I'm glad the "Watch" blogger has time on his/her hands that I don't. Frankly, I think every town needs at least a good half dozen watch dogs to hold town officials accountable - regardless of who is in office. I don't think disparaging a fellow citizen as being petty is really useful.

I also agree, though, that "watch" blogger's personal swipe toward Mr. Kelder was not necessary. Maybe he is arrogant; maybe he's not. His actions will speak to that.