While Buffalo should be praised for staging the recent snow emergency drill, the city remains vulnerable to the paralyzing effects of a severe winter storm.
Several essential measures have yet to be implemented. The city must:
Create a pool of qualified truck drivers from all city departments and authorities to enable full use of snow-removal equipment. Last year, the city was crippled when dozens of pieces of equipment were left idle in city garages due to the shortages of drivers.
Have fully trained, professional managers in charge of managing the city's large truck and equipment fleet, and coordinate the use of equipment from city authorities, the county highway division and the state DOT. Last year, we observed the city's commissioner attempting to plow snow in his pickup truck.
Post residential and secondary streets with the new emergency regulations. This is a basic step needed to inform citizens and businesses of what their actions should be in an emergency.
Give secondary and residential streets expedited services so that residents, businesses and schools can resume normal activities as soon as possible.
Prepare a detailed presentation to the county and state justifying a request for equal treatment in receiving snow-removal services.
If it is acceptable for the county and state to clear the main roads in various towns and villages, then the city must request its fair share.
Buffalo has to do a better job in preparing its operational departments and in planning for contingencies.
Last year, the city failed to promptly request state and county highway assistance. The result was a panicked city administration desperately appealing to the governor for National Guard troops to help beleaguered city workers.
Snow-removal operations controlled by political patronage concerns will result in a continuation of the abject failure we experienced in the recent past.
GRAIG E. SPEERS