Thursday, June 5, 2014

The fire chief's new powers


CHIEF GARRETT (Times Union photo)
Where there’s smoke there’s fire … unless everyone sticks to the script.
Fire Chief Tom Garrett, while testifying in front of the city Council earlier this week, said the one and only reason he ordered the buildings knocked down on King Street was out of concern for public safety.
Out of 501 vacant buildings in the city, the ones on King Street – which may have different addresses but were really one big row house - presented the largest threat to the safety of fire fighters and the public at large.
Garrett said he didn’t talk to anyone in City Hall about ordering the emergency demo and the one and only discussion he had with Don Boyajian, the buildings’ owner, was the morning the buildings were taken down and during that chat Boyajian agreed to pay for it.
A couple things come to mind.
-The demolished King Street buildings have been vacant for years if not decades. The one end was occupied by a strip club until it was shuttered for offering customers more than a show and the other is home to the new Bombers Burrito bar. I still don’t know what suddenly made the buildings a threat to public safety – especially since the strip club and its extracurricular activities were shut down.
KING STREET DEMO
-Since when does the fire chief have the authority to unilaterally knock buildings down? When did it last happen outside of a building that was ravaged by fire? There is some question as to whether the chief has the power under the charter or not but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. But, even with the benefit of the doubt graciously extended, you would think he would run it by someone first - like the mayor perhaps. Or maybe the city engineer, but he was conveniently on vacation. (Russ Reeves has since resigned)
-Garrett said the boiler and most of the piping was removed from the building so he assumed there was no asbestos left. Now, not only does the chief have the authority to reduce any building in the city to rubble, he can do an asbestos survey by eyeballing it rather than using any funky air monitoring or testing equipment.
-He also knows enough about structural engineering to determine the wall between Bombers and the demolished buildings was not going to collapse while crews whacked away at it with a wrecking ball. In fact, he was so confident of that assessment, patrons were allowed to continue to patronize the bar while demolition was going on. Why ruin a perfectly good Happy Hour, after all.  
-The chief also now negotiates with the building owners on paying for the demolition should he order one.
REEVES
-Given the above powers and/or skills the chief now possesses, I don’t think he makes enough overtime.
-No one is sure when or who ordered the Department of Public Works to set up the barricades but testimony showed it was ready to go the day before. Since Garrett ordered the demolition without speaking with anyone else one can logically assume he requested the barricades. Maybe the chief can plow streets and pick up garbage too.
-Boyajian may have paid more to get rid of the debris because it was determined there was asbestos present – despite the chief’s determination – but he did bypass a bunch of red tape most building owners have to go through if they want to conduct a demolition. That red tape includes a getting a permit, getting approvals from the Planning Commission and the county Department of Health, meeting a host of other criteria and having a post-demolition plan for the site. (See section 141-28and 141-29 of the City Code.)
So far, to no fault of the Council or how it is conducting the investigation into the demolitions on King Street and the one at the King Fuels site, there is a bunch of smoke and, so far, no fire. And there won’t be so long as everyone sticks to the script of “public safety concerns” and “miscommunication.”

 


20 comments:

  1. Its all a script of "public safety concerns" and "miscommunications" until someone gets seriously injured or killed. Same deal for potential lawsuits over breathing in asbestos. Pathetic-- Sad thing is the people who should be staying onboard are the ones resigning. The rest will have to wait until we vote them out next round. Don't let the wrecking ball hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!!!

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  2. Between Garrett, Lou, Pete and Dunne and the clown posse city council I love when they tell us all how transparent they are. No council meeting video, no information about city hall meetings and worse of all contracts and hiring without public input. Case in point Kopka shows church to preferred buyer and refuses to let other potential buyers access. It's called bid rigging and it's illegal. But hey, they're dems.

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    1. Hitting the Jack Daniels again, I see

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    2. It's called bid rigging and it's illegal
      Harry perfected it harry was no where in sight last night just in case Rodney sniffed out that dirty deal that his buddy from H&V got
      Harry was not there just in case H&V guy got shot down and unloaded on harry in the parking lot like the ambulance chaser lawyer did
      The cash was already given H&V got a 300K building for 31'975
      The tax payers got fleeced
      The new guy in town who offered more got were sorry you did not get picked this time
      Some one should look into this a little closer and ask questions to the highest bidder

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  3. "It's about me me me!"
    Says egomaniac Kenny Z
    As he screws Dems with glee
    Assuming they'll just let him be
    Until he gets tossed off committee
    Left with nothing but the WFP

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    1. What's WFP?

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    2. WFP = Working families party. In other words, misfits and screwballs

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  4. Commissioner dunne storms around city hall today after findin out he missing Y chromosome

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    1. He should check with Harry, he's got a few extras

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  5. He set the alarms off to check out the back of a new employee

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  6. He's got no chance

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    1. He can photo shop a picture of a young man in the nude and put his bulbous head on it. He's good at that.

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  7. Just read the story in the record about the Troy man who lied to the Troy police when asked if he was dead. It good to see them follow up on this case to get to the truth. After multiple call to the police and the Record troy police got to the bottom of this case they found the man under the bed next to the knife in Corliss Park took him in for questioning and after several day of intense interagation they finally broke the man down and after weatherboarding the man he confessed that he was infact alive.

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  8. How can he state that it was a public safety issue but yet leave patrons in a building next door is not? What a Gomer....

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  9. Garrett should read the city charter and laws. No where does it give him the right to declare emergencies or take down buildings. All that sleeping on Sunday night at the fire house to up his salary and consequently pension must have filled him with delusions of grandeur.

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    1. Right, only a half wit bully playing demolition brinksmanship over City Hall on New Year's Eve can do that. Oh wait...

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    2. Just foil the troy fire CHIEFS overtime...then you will have a clue about their abusive overtime schedule that garrett is in control of ...wake up city council!!

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  10. Bunch of babies worried about asbestos...If those buildings would have burned down there'd be 300 of you crybabies standing out front sucking in the smoke while watching it and critiquing Garrett's OT....
    Unreal

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