The NY Post is reporting that a federal investigation is being launched as to the causes of the snow removal failure in NYC-and there appears to be a heavy emphasis on the sanitation union's culpability: "The feds have opened a criminal investigation into allegations that city employees conspired to paralyze the city during last week's blizzard by failing to remove the snow, authorities confirmed today. The probe launched by the Brooklyn US Attorney's Office comes in response to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens) revelations to The Post last week that sanitation workers told him they were involved in a work slowdown, sources told The Post. At the same time, both the Brooklyn and Queens DAs offices have started their own investigations into whether there was a work slowdown."
But in our view, if there is to be an investigation, it needs to be a wide ranging one-and simply looking for the union label will lead to a whitewash of the city's management team, from the mayor on down. At the end of the Post's story, however-in a case of burying the lede-we get the following insight: "In the last two years, the agency's workforce has been slashed by 400 trash haulers and supervisors -- down from 6,300 -- because of the city's budget crisis. And, effective tomorrow, 100 department supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving move. Sources said budget cuts were also at the heart of poor planning for the blizzard last weekend. The city broke from its usual routine and did not call in a full complement on Saturday for snow preparations in order to save on added overtime that would have had to be paid for them to work on Christmas Day. The result was an absolute collapse of New York's once-vaunted systems of clearing the streets and keeping mass transit moving under the weight of 20 inches of snow."
The NY Daily News refocuses us on where the, well, focus of an investigation should lie-right at the top of the management pyramid: "Someone must have been in charge when the blizzard roared into town last week, but City Hall won't say who.Mayor Bloomberg - who often jets off on weekends, sometimes to a vacation home in Bermuda - refuses to divulge where he was over Christmas weekend. The City Charter says Bloomberg must appoint a deputy to take control when he leaves town, but Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith - who oversees snow clearing and other crucial services - was in Washington. Another deputy mayor, Howard Wolfson, was vacationing in London and said he doesn't know whose hand was on the wheel."