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Frank Evans

One plus of major snow storms is that New York turns into a small town. Neighbors help neighbors, strangers help strangers, everyone is in the same situation and some of us try to show our strength shoveling only to return to a heating pad or ice and a nip to ease the back pain. Not that I'm dreaming of a White February. But it does bring out the best in people.

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Nature is more and more be destroyed, we must self-inspection

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Global warming has taken its effects.

John Thomas

I accidentally came across your website describing various snowstorms in New York City. Thought you might be interested this story.

1969: NYC owned 1600 garbage collection trucks which doubled as snow plows when needed. Management had become complacent. Normally they were able to keep enough trucks operating for the daily trash collection routes, while the rest were out of service for repair. The entire system failed in the 1969 snowstorm; the Sanitation Department could not keep enough trucks operating to make headway against the mounting snowfall. It was unable to get trucks to or from the central repair shop in Queens; breakdowns mounted fast as the snow fell. Neither the streets could be plowed nor the trash collected for days. The NY Times reported that “40% of snow removal equipment was defective because of poor maintenance.”

I was hired by the Lindsay administration in 1970 to fix the problems in the Sanitation Department to prevent another such disaster in the future.This was not simply a problem of an aged fleet; they were aggressively buying new trucks. It was a systemic problem - a combination of maintenance logistics and complacent management. (Incidentally, my partner, Andrew Kerr, and I were “outed” as Lindsay’s secret consultants by the NY Daily News, so we became City officials during Lindsay’s second term.)

In a nutshell, the solution required replacing top management then creating satellite repair shops, one in each borough that could take care of minor repairs applying new repair protocols. These changes reduced turnaround time from two days+ to an hour or two.

NYC has had worse snowstorms since then, notably the 26.9-inch snowfall of 2006 and 27.5-inch blizzard during the winter of 2016. Even so, while it naturally takes time clear the streets and there is bound to be considerable inconvenience to residents, the Sanitation Department’s ability to cope with such storms has remained effective. This is because the fixes were systemic and will continue until explicitly altered.

John S. Thomas, former Deputy Director of the Budget, City of New York.
Author of So, Mr. Mayor . . .You Want to Improve Productivity” published by the National Commission on Productivity.

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