Sometimes we have to drive in snow here

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

This letter is in response to the one written by Dave Labbadia. Normally I would try to ignore letters like this, but I felt I must respond in this case.

Just to set the record straight, I have been Highway Superintendent for the Town of Middlesex for 20 years and have worked for the Town for 37 years, so I have a pretty good idea about what I am talking about.

Number one, let’s get the facts straight. On Feb. 1, I walked out my door at 4:45 a.m. There was barely enough snow to cover the roads. We, and I am including the Yates County Highway Department and all the town highway departments in Yates County, normally start plowing operations at 4 a.m. and sometimes if the weather is bad enough we work until 9 or 10 at night.

By 5 a.m. I had called my crew in because I could see the snow was rapidly accumulating.

By 5:30 a.m. our plows were on the ground, and judging by the chatter on the radio, so were all the other crews. We cannot plow the snow until it is there.

Another fact Mr.Labbadia does not have a clue about is that Highway Departments do not cancel school. If it is bad out, school transportation officials drive the roads themselves and call a few highway departments for advice about whether to close or not.

We only make recommendations and the School Superintendents make the final decision.

I do not know what roads Mr. Labbadia drives on to get to work, but I can assure him all the crews in Yates County were out that morning. It was a storm with bad timing.

All I can say is, if Mr.Labbadia thinks that we public workers have been “witholding services” then why do I have a huge pile of snow removal trip tickets on my desk? Why have I already gone through 75 percent of my sand and salt already this winter?

It’s the Northeast and sometimes you are going to have to drive on snow, and when its bad for you it’s bad for us. I personally have a very dedicated and hardworking crew who give up a lot of their lives in the winter time to make the roads safe, and I know we do a great job.

Tom Reifsteck