We had a guy like that. Was mad they stopped giving promotions to A mechanic for something like 6-7 years. We got a new manager, she got everyone their titles in 2 years. The old timer was mad he hada wait do long and the new guys got it so quick. So he has a personal vendetta to drag out every single job and screw them every chance he can for OT. Not uncommon for front line supervisors to forget he's out on an emergency and they never send him a relief....someone finally realizes like 6 hours later and at that point, he'll drag it out for a double and come in by 11pm.
Picking Up by Robin Lang all about Department of Sanitation New York City
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So Night Plow, DSNY has a couple different seasons, Leaf, Maggot and Night Plow.
Snow Plowing and removal is one of the departments major jobs. It's actually taken very seriously by some of the supervisors and department big wigs. In fact it is taken so seriously by some that certain supervisors actually think that snow plowing is the main job and garbage collection and street sweeping are just busy work in the off season.
Snow plowing work goes on all year round. Even in the summer they are busy checking equipment, fixing, repairing and ordering new equipment and strategizing.
The DSNY actually has a contract with a couple different weather forecasting services to monitor weather conditions in the snowy months.
Also all hands of the DSNY weather it be garbage collectors or drivers in the street sweeper core are on snow patrol when the department is called to mobilize and go off and fight the snow.
The DSNY has a couple different tools in there arsenal for snow fighting.
The first main tool is the standard Mack MRU Collection Truck.
This is the main unit the department uses for plowing snow off of the roads.
The second unit the department utilizes is the salt spreader truck.
Usually the way it works is the department when they have to runs a tandem plow group with 3-4 or 5 collection trucks plowing snow and a salt spreader truck at the rear of the convoy the spreaders are set on a burst mode and can drop enough salt to cover about 3 lanes of traffic.
During a snow storm upper management all the way down to lower and middle management is mobilized. Rank and file employees chain up collection trucks and other equipment with tire chains and "dress" the snow plows, which is the act of actually putting the snow plow on the truck the ran and file employees do that.
See where I live in Ohio refuse trucks are not really used to plow snow. DSNY uses refuse trucks to plow snow and so does the City of Millwaukee, Wisconsin and Watusa, Wisconsin and there's probably some smaller hamlets and villages in New York and Pennsylvania that use collection trucks for snow plowing, but not so much here in Ohio. Our city service departments have separate vehicles for snow fighting.
Now what's interesting is during the big snow events on a weekday that cause schools to close garbage collection in some cities will get cancelled, because while the trucks are different the drivers are the same.
But see, like I think it's an assets thing, refuse trucks are expensive and towns that have 4-5 refuse trucks they don't want to take a chance on them. During the snow storm in NYC in 2010 which gave the department a black eye, One of the snow plow drivers lost control and drove a DSNY collection truck into a concrete barricade and snapped 2 of the 3 axles basically put the truck totally out of service. For DSNY with a fleet of over 1000 collection trucks that's not as big of a deal they towed the truck to the central maintenance yard and replaced it with a spare and then took there sweet time deciding what to do.
However a smaller town and operation like, City of Rocky River, Ohio that only has maybe 5-6 refuse trucks one of those gets popped that's at least a $150,000.00 asset to the city that is now out of service, for who knows how long. I know City of Rocky River finally after 2 years just got a new hook and ladder fire truck. The old one a 1992 model was on the highway blocking a lane of traffic due to an emergency and some criminal crashed right into the fire truck at break neck speed. By the time the insurance adjusters and accident investigators and other bureaucrats were done doing there poking and prodding the fire department was without a ladder truck for almost 2 years. Because the ladder trucks can range in the millions of dollars the cities don't like to play fast and lose with those assets, but things happen, finally city council told the fire department you will buy you a new truck, but you better get the one you want, because your probably going to be looking at it for the next 20 years.
With these little towns, it's the same thing, for one they need the garbage trucks to collect garbage not plow snow and for 2 not so much Rocky River or Brecksville, but like Lakewood, Lyndurst, Brooklyn, Brookpark those cities own and operate expensive automated side loader trucks that cost almost $300,000.00 a city like Brookpark might have 6-7 of those things that's 2.1million dollars worth of gear there not going to risk the garbage fleet in a snow storm cost to much money.
The City I live in we go back and fourth on this, I think the city says they need 5 trucks for garbage collection and that's budgeting one truck as a spare truck unit. Well a city like mine that has I think 2 refuse trucks both out of service on the roster (we have a contractor pick up the garbage, which I'm not a huge fan of, but that's a different story.) Well even if they were in service the city and I know they carry insurance on those units, but still a small city isn't going to risk it. DSNY it's a different story same with like Millwaukee although the city of Cleveland they don't use there refuse trucks for snow fighting, they don't do it, those Heil Dual packers they have are expensive and they are not snow fighting machines.
However NYC is not some suburb of Cleveland or Cleveland it's self.
During major snow fighting operations alerts are sent out. The department districts mobilize and department commanders hit the streets. DSNY rank and file employees work 12 hour shifts.
So the employees hit the streets and get moving usually a supervisor will be in a car around them giving orders or monitoring performance. This is one of the rare times where radios are actually given out to certain operators. The salt spreader trucks usually get a radio.
There was one such instance where a broom operator because DSNY they cross train a lot of guys, normally broom operators are also cross trained on snow plowing and all that and some times garbage route drivers are also cross trained or broom certified.
Anyhow there was an instance where a "broomie" that's DSNY slang for broom operator was put behind the wheel of a salt spreader truck.
Some of the orange salt trucks do work alone and one of the keys to that job is you have to be able to drive backwards up hill in the snow in snowy areas.
Well, a broom operator who wasn't quite sure of him self was sent alone in a salt spreader truck to work a section of town all by him self and usually salt trucks are given hand held radios so management can direct them where to go during a storm.
Well, this fellow got to a part of town that was hilly and he didn't know it very well and got on the radio in some weak quiet timid voice and went "I'm just a poor broom operator in this salt truck that I don't know and I don't know this part of town and it's snowing please help me please!" I guess the radio chatter fell silent for a minute and in typical trucking fashion they ignored him and I guess he got up there in an even more weak and pathetic voice pleaded for a hand, naturally he was ignored. I don't know why they thought he was qualified to work the salt truck, I think they threw him the keys and said go get em.
Most of the time during a storm there's some department big shot riding around in a car on streets barking orders over the radio like:
"What the heck are you doing you're losing fifth street, why aren't there any units out that way."
"Need more salt on the express way."
"Jone's, where's the plow gang, over near 8th street?"
Then sometimes the trucks go into formation to do a highway and they plow along 4-5 trucks in a row. Sometime there is a low level foreman driving along side them.
According to Mrs. Nagle who wrote the book riding driving down the highway in formation was something to really see and experience she said there were cars that would drive along and cut in between the trucks and try to pass while getting barraged by snow.
Usually when they are done with there first pass they all park at a rally point at which point the foreman watching them and coaching them gives a profanity laced pep talk using a bunch of big words I am not allowed to even think of saying on here or else I'll be banned from the forum, but the problem with using collection trucks as snow plows is when they are out plowing snow, they aren't out collecting garbage.
Now what happens is the big piles of garbage get piled up, but that's easy to manage. Where it gets hard is when the house to house routes have not had collection for a week or 2 and all the garbage is layered under snow and iced up and stuck to the ground. Usually at that point it takes 1-2 hours to do a street that would normally take 20 minutes, that's the cost of the snow.
Plus equipment gets damaged and your in the truck driving for 12 hours people tend to get drowsy until you hit a manhole cover that's sticking up more then it should and it trips the plow and it sounds like World War 3 is going off, but sometimes the guys take a transistor radio with them to listen to music, which is generally against department policy, but during a snow storm management looks the other way on rules like that. So that's an brief over view of DSNY snow fighting operations.
Sounds like us....when manhole fires/transformer fires go off the charts in bad weather, half the safety requirements go out the window. It's 'get to the job as fast as yoi can, they need Flush there yesterday' type attitude.
But I have to say, if it wasn't for you guys dropping salt, it wouldn't give us overtime, so thanks
DSNY 2010 Snow Blizzard
Some supervisors at the DSNY regard garbage pick up and street sweeping as just busy work, and do nothing, but plan for snow season all year.
Well over the years New York City has had quite a few memorable snow storms. One of the largest most memorable ones was the Christmas time snow storm of 2010 which gave the department of sanitation a major black eye.
Now presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City in 2010 and he hired his buddy, Stephen Goldsmith to be the Deputy Mayor of New York City for Operations. Bloomberg wanted this guy Goldsmith to stream line and fix some of the cities problems. Goldsmith was the former Mayor of Indianapolis, IN from 1992 to 1999 serving (2) terms as Mayor of Indianapolis. Of which The City of Indianapolis, Indiana botched up two snow storms in 1994 due to Goldsmiths incompetence.
City of Indianapolis, Indiana Department of Public Works Refuse Collection Truck.
Anyhow Goldsmith was the bureaucrat at City Hall who the department heads of the DSNY, FDNY , NYPD and other city agencies reported to.
Well Bloomberg appointed Goldsmith to chief destruction officer and Goldsmith started screwing with the DSNY and laying off and knocking down bottom level supervisors he cut 200 of them or something like that and botched the entire department up and basically even though he wasn't qualified at all and knew nothing of how the DSNY operated or for that matter how the City of Indianapolis Department of Public Works Operated that didn't stop Goldsmith
Goldsmith also had a knack for wanting to run everything him self basically the same way BFI remember this company BFI:
From the 1980s and 1990s, BFI collapsed under it's own weight in 1999 when it got to big and heavy trying to run all it's branches and terminals from a 1 size fits all heavy handed ivory tower corporate structure.
Well Stephen Goldsmith did things the same way in Indianapolis and New York City he ran everything from a one size fits all heavy handed top down corporate structure, turn the plows left, turn the plows right no salt, salt no salt. Man didn't know what he was doing and it's why he botched up the 1994 snow storm in Indianapolis and it's why he botched up the 2010 snow storm in New York City.
Now after the 1994 snow debacle in Indianapolis, Goldsmith went down to the DPW department and said okay boys your in charge from here on out and let the supervisors and department heads at the department of public works manage the snow and garbage and after that surprise they didn't have any problems.
To be fair where I live the City of Cleveland, Ohio screws up snow and garbage removal every now and then, but there kind of hit and miss on 2014 they botched up snow removal and stopped listening to the residents who complain and instead followed there own map and routing, they got some new equipment too and past couple years haven't been so bad.
City of Cleveland also had some trouble with their sanitation department, but this decade 2010-2019 they also switched over to automation and some of there trucks I can tell, they've had newer garbage truck bodies put on older cabs and chassis, City of Cleveland has an absolute hodgepodge mix of equipment, which makes it hard I think on the department mechanics to fix things, City of Cleveland though there troubles seem to come and go, right now there in a better spot. They did have some malfunctioning arms on some of the older automated trucks, but that's since been rectified.
But the City of Cleveland there fleets a mess, old, new, old with new body, like I can tell I'll see a City of Cleveland side load garbage truck the cab and chassis will be an older cab and chassis and you can tell somewhere for all I know could have been done at the city's garage down town they had a new body trucked in and the city put the new body on the old cab and chassis. But the city of Cleveland has a mess of CCC, Peterbuilt, Mack, International and Freightliner and Autocar/WhiteGMC.
Garbage bodies are just as bad, Newway, Loadmaster, Heil, Leach, Labre. They seem to hop around those different manufacturers I don't know how they determine these things, if they are going by cheapest bidder, I know the government likes to go by cheapest bidder or pretends too, but I don't always think that's the case, or even always right at times, I think there are certain specifications they have. The problem with the City of Cleveland is and this is a problem for the entire city not just the sanitation department, they have no rules for when maintenance should be done or what kind of preventative maintenance should be done and it also flows down to the police and fire departments.
I swear the city of Cleveland just when they get into a jam they start buying one off stuff, it used to be all the garbage trucks were flat grey that was there color. Now they have some white and some other colors and what happens is they used to buy them in lots one year they might buy 15 Loadmasters now it's like well half the fleet is broken down we need some trucks lets buy some new ones and they just call up and buy what's ever available on the lot where ever they can get them from.
DSNY does not operate nearly as sloppy as The City of Cleveland. All trucks go in for maintenance every 90 days they have inspection guidelines, all trucks are either Mack MRU or Mack Terra Pro Cab and Chassis. Most of the garbage truck bodies are Heil Formula 5000 and some McNeilous, but the fleet is a lot more streamlined, it's easier for the shop to work on stuff when there always working on the same things.
Anyhow, sorry about that tangent I went off. So the winter of 2010 a bad weather system stalled out right around Christmas time at the earlier part of the decade (man can you believe the decade is over already? I thought just yesterday it was 2010, where did the time go?) Anyhow a weather system stalled out and at first it really wasn't to bad and the DSNY was able to hold on and keep the roads clear.
But the problem was the plows were not deployed correctly and snow was falling at about a foot per hour over night, they didn't have the routes set up right for that kind of thing and the department needed a snow emergency called which puts a parking ban in parts of the city, well DSNY cannot call a snow emergency only the mayor can and surprise, Mike Bloomberg was nowhere to be found and neither was deputy mayor Goldsmith.
So in a rare move the DSNY called for the Department of Transportation and other agencies to help them out usually they do not do that. Anyhow the snow storm got away from the DSNY and it all went to heck, yes it did.
Over 200 MTA buses were stuck, fire trucks, police cars, DSNY snow plows all stuck in the snow.
DSNY trucks stuck in the snow:
A truck would get stuck in the snow and they would send some helpers out to get the truck and that truck would get stuck and then another truck would get stuck. City of New York didn't deploy or have enough tow trucks to grab all the stuck snow plows. It was pretty bad.
Also I don't know who was in charge of this I think Goldsmith or some big shot, but they put a no salt order out during the snow storm and failed to call a snow emergency. So supervisors and managers in certain districts couldn't salt even if they knew better because top down heavy one size fits all mismanagement from city hall told them they could not salt.
So, a no salt order was put into place and because City Hall didn't want to let the workers work and the managers manage the entire thing was botched up. It was a complete embarrassment to the DSNY.
A lot of the bottom level middle managers were appalled by the lack of leadership from City Hall, this storm did hurt Goldsmith he investigated and waffled and eventually was arrested for beating his wife, spent two nights in jail, he was let go and no charges were actually filed, but after that he stepped down he had figured in his 14 months as deputy mayor he did enough damage and it was time to go. Plus now he was labeled a drunken wife beater and that didn't help him nobody in Indianapolis or NYC misses him.Last edited: Dec 22, 2019
DSNY The Big Idea and The End of Picking Up
The DSNY also has it's own Benevolence Society where current and retired employees of the department go to help one another out and also sponsor and run charity events and have dinners and awards ceremonies. It's all very nice I don't work at a place that has anything like that, when I retire that's it I'm done out the door, good news for me though is I have 35 years (at least) left to work and god willing maybe even some more!
This is a side note here and maybe the answer is no this is one of the rare times where there really isn't a wrong answer, do any of guys out there fear retirement? Or maybe by the time that comes you'll be ready to hang it up? I knew a guy who worked at Ford and he retired maybe just tad early and he said to me "Don't think I wasn't scared to retire. When it came, but I was battling my ex-wife in divorce court for custody of the kids and I had met all the company requirements for retirement so I was within my rights, but I was scared about it."
Maybe it's just a mind set and actually I think as long as you have your health you can have a happy retirement career lol alot of people have families and grandkids and go on trips other people for a little while get second jobs, they drive a school bus or work for the city as a crossing guard or if they are young start a second job at Coca Cola @FlaSwampRat depends on where your at in life. Anyhow just a side thought. Pretty soon will all be another year older.
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