Have you noticed …

No cops collecting overtime are guarding the private utility workers as they restore power.  State (Democrat) law provides the police the luxury of demanding to be present, and paid, whenever a non-municipal crew works on trees or wires and this right is policed, so to speak, rigorously.

Obviously, enforcing the rule this week would bring all reconstruction to a standstill – our cops are too busy elsewhere –  so it’s not being observed, but I wish it were – it’d cause such an uproar that even Democrat politicians might be forced to revisit this sop to the unions.

UPDATE: received a message from one of the force, furious that I’m expressing ingratitude towards him and his fellows with this post. Nothing could be further from the truth – no one who’s observed these folks over the years, including this past week, risking their lives under horrific conditions to save fools like me, rushing to aid the stricken and keeping the town far safer than surrounding municipalities, could fail to be grateful and deeply appreciative for their service.

But if they deserve higher pay, then pay that directly and account for the cost; hiding that money under the guise of traffic safety is lousy government.

 

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Have you noticed …

  1. david kaplan

    I am still without power, phone and cable but think the assistance we are getting from far away places is great. I’ve seen more Hydro Quebec trucks then CL&P trucks.

  2. The Mick

    Collecting massive OT elsewhere on the gas lines etc. together with the ‘staties’. Otherwise there would have been issues..

  3. FlyAngler

    Power is still out along North Street north of the Merritt. Major damage done between Stallion Trails and Conyers will take some effort to fix. The tree crews cleared the downed trees by Day 2 but not a single utility crew has been seen in the area.

    While driving today, we passed the Griff Golf Course which has been set up as a staging area for utility crews. It was reassuring to see at least a couple dozen pole-top transformers on pallets there waiting to be installed.

    Regarding GPD, last night I spoke to an officer who is a friend and he said they have been highly conscious of the risk of burglaries in areas without power or where residents have moved out. That might explain why there are no “surplus” officers to mind the utility crews right now.

  4. Cos Cobber

    We dont need the police to coordinate constr traffic when life returns to normal. Its a waste of resources and sadly they actually do a lousy job of it in most circumstances….just standing and talking to the crews or in their cell phones barely minding the traffic. They are rarely proactive with traffic management. I also find it odd that they refuse to use a flag, orange stick or some other device that is far easier to see at a distance.

    I grew up in another part of the northeast where the police never directed constr traffic for any circumstances, no matter the size of the road (including interstates) or the size of the project. Instead constr companies had trained flagman and women who took the task far more seriously and with proper equipment including a stop sign/stick, flag, radios, orange reflective vests and helmets.

    As a society we are all paying for this misuse of highly skilled police labor through higher constr/utility costs. If the police unions dont want to give up the overstime or extratime, I’d rather put them back out in a patrol car or walking/biking a beat in our downtowns. The police should be out their using their police training to fight crime rather than to ‘observe’ traffic at constr sites.

    For the record, I’m not anti PD, I just want to see a better allocation of their training to society’s benefit. There is a reason my doctor doesnt also work as a receptionist or nurse….the PD /flagman situation is similar, its a waste of their skills.

    • In states without this inane cop union law, the least experienced, lowest paid new guy is paid to wave a flag at construction sites (when needed). Never heard of a problem from that because – duh – it doesn’t take much brainpower. And notice that, because of our town labor contract, Greenwich municipal work crews get to use their own over-paid dummies to flag traffic. So no, specialized training is not needed to perform this job – just a union contract.

  5. Cos Cobber

    Yes, I may have oversold the training and skill aspect, but that doesnt change the fact that the prof flagman in neighboring states actually look the part with an actual flag that can be seen at a distance and their more proactive involvement in directing traffic.

    All the time and hrs invested in developing a skilled police force is totally misdirected with extra hrs spent standing over construction sites. If the union doesn’t want to lose the wages, I’d be content throwing them a bone and increasing their policing hrs instead (but obviously not a 1 for 1 replacement). It just burns me up that valuable police skills would be wasted on simple constr traffic. Part of the reason the police do such a mediocre job directing traffic is because it is indeed well beneath their training. They know it, we know it, everyone knows it, so lets stop the charade.

    Bottomline, dont look for Malloy, Tesei, FF or anyone else to tackle this complete and obvious missappropriation of training and skill set.

  6. Tired of overpaid gov't workers

    In NY, this gravy train extends to their pension as well. So, when you see an older cop “directing” traffic, remember that his pension is based on his last 3 years of salary – thats why so many rank and file cops/firemen etc have six figure pensions. And if they get lucky and claim some disability, like 90% of railroad workers do, then its all tax-free. Just another gov’t worker scam.

  7. I blame Patti Page

    How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
    Created a huge desire for cash to fund personal desires without working, just wishing

  8. Cos Cobber

    I just passed through a sidewalk replacement project here in town. No police crews running the traffic detail, just plain old construction workers. Guess what, they actually have orange vests, radios, a stop/slow pole and flag. And they are actually directing the traffic rather than sitting there looking too cool to bother.

    I have tremendous respect for the police force, it is a brave and noble profession and their service is essential. I just dont understand why we are wasting all their training on such a menial task. And yes, I am little frustrated that when the police are on site directing traffic they actually do a lousy job. I think it’s because – like I said before – beneath them and silly and they know it too.

    • I like the practice of road crews out in our western mountains, where they use hot babes in cut-offs to wave flags at passing motorists. Seems to work just fine and it’s a hell of a lot more fun to ogle them than even the cutest patrolman here in our town.

  9. boredatwork

    Still no power on North Street north of the Merritt. I know it’s the boonies, but it’s been a week now (well, almost) and it’s beyond frustrating. My generator is almost out of propane despite repeated calls to my supplier; without power, our well pump will be useless and we’ll be off to a hotel if we can find one with 2 rooms. Thank the Lord for the Canadians – we have seen dozens of their trucks out working on the lines, but have not seen a single CL&P truck – where are they all???

    • Not that it will bring warmth to your house, but according to Greenwich Time (which seems to have finally located a genuine reporter hiding under a desk), CL&P has brought more than 4,000 workers into the state to help out, thus supplementing its own 400 line workers, so the odds of your spying an out-of-stater are 10X greater than finding a local one. And that makes sense: we don’t really want to pay electric rates that cover the cost of keeping 4,000 workers on the payroll just to have them handy when a hurricane hits.
      But you certainly have my sympathy, and I know it’s far easier for me to counsel patience when I can write these words without wool gloves and with a fresh cup of coffee steaming beside me. I was up your way yesterday and the place looks like a bomb hit it. There’s a lot of work still to be done – the CL&P spokesman said that they’ve had to rebuild the entire system up there – so here’s hoping the hotels have emptied of Riverside and Old Greenwich residents and made room for displaced northerners.

  10. Anonymous

    I believe the local police ability to demand these side jobs is a contractual right, not a result of state law. In Greenwich, you can’t blame this provision on Democrats. Put the heat on your local municipal leaders to negotiate these provisions out of the police contract.

    Please get your facts straight.

    • In Connecticut every single municipality and town to my knowledge requires private contractors working on public roads to hire policemen to direct traffic. My memory says that they do so because of a state law granting that boon t the cops – you insist that it’s mere coincidence. Whatever, the result is the same. So (politely) screw you.

  11. toast

    Someone should sue the towns and cops union leaders over this under the RICO act! Oh, wait…. um …nevermind.

    http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?page=1&xmldoc=2003924283FSupp2d641_1892.xml&docbase=CSLWAR2-1986-2006&SizeDisp=7

    i recall this lawsuit but can not seem to find more info on it. bottom line is they tried,the court dimissed it.