City earns credit for snow response

Published 8:49 pm Saturday, February 13, 2010

Have you often found yourself being critical of the services provided by city government? Have you ever found yourself making a snide little comment about city workers standing around on a job site?

Admit it. You have. In fact, we all have. In fact, there are city workers who have made the same critical remarks about those in similar positions.

But, where some criticism may be warranted, no such criticism should levied upon the city of Suffolk’s response to the recent — and from what it appears ongoing — snowstorms.

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In what has proven to be a weather cycle not seen in Hampton Roads in more than two decades, crews with the city of Suffolk’s public works department have responded to broken water mains, pothole-infested roads and the removal of an incalculable amount of snow from city streets and highways.

All of this was done in an environment that would beg for them to stay comfortable indoors and to just wait it out until the weather got better.

The mere cost of the additional hours of overtime, fuel, supplies and maintenance may not be known for a few weeks, but the fact that city streets were kept safe and drivable for much of the past few weeks is nothing short of spectacular.

Yes, there were some side streets that were not scraped and some fender benders did occur, but not a single person was injured and no lives were lost during a period of time when a traffic or weather-related fatality could have been considered a given.

A recent online poll by the Suffolk News-Herald found that just 52 percent of respondents said the city “did a good job on snow removal.” The follow-up question we should now be asking, is “could you have done better?” Or, “would you have done it all?”

For those 48 percent of respondents who said the city did not do a good job, we ask where were you at 3 a.m. on a Saturday morning while dedicated city employees were ensuring the streets were clear? Where were you at 4 a.m. on a snowy morning when police officers were constantly patrolling the roads, ensuring they were drivable?

As a newspaper, it is our role to be a community watchdog, ensuring government acts in the best interest of the people it serves. And, often times that role leads us to criticize their actions and their decisions.

In this case, we today applaud the city’s efforts in the response to the recent snowstorms and join everyone in hoping for a quick arrival of a nice, warm and sunny spring.