November 2011

Sometimes Superintendent Profile deadline falls on a day in proximity, if not the day after, the N.Y.S. Highway & Public Works Expo. Such was the case this year. Look in December’s issue of the magazine for complete coverage of the event.

Back in September, we reported that the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways was to meet with OGS officials regarding contracts for trucks on state bid. Well, that meeting occurred and while there may be a slightly better understanding between superintendents and OGS than there was before about this issue, things aren’t improving. One superintendent, who asked not to be identified, said that, “[OGS] has no idea how difficult this is going to be for us. What used to take about a month to purchase a truck will now take three months with a lot of paper work. They [OGS] think all of us have two secretaries.”

Here’s the situation: Light trucks have been extended into next June; medium trucks expired; and heavy trucks expire at the end of the year. Making matters worse is that OGS has not decided upon their specs yet. Sources said that OGS received specs from some manufacturers but did not like what they saw, so it’s in a holding pattern for now.

Again, with such an intense focus on the nation’s debt problem, local, state and federal officials are trying anything to at least give the impression they’re doing something to reign in spending or to control it better. But most government officials and legislators have never worked in the trenches and as a result, make decisions that hurt and diminish people’s ability to do their jobs. In a state that sees ridiculous amounts of snow each winter, why it would make it ridiculously more difficult to purchase trucks to remove it is mind-boggling.

Tip O’Neill once famously said that all politics is local. Superintendents know more about keeping taxpayers happy than anybody because they listen to and work side by side with them every day. And they’re the first to hear about it when the roads aren’t clear or need work. I’m sure they’d like for you to have the trucks you need to do that. P


You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.