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UPDATE: More Plowing To Be Done, Vecchio Told by Highway Chief

Supervisor praises workers; says he communicated as best as he could.

Update, 11:49 a.m. – Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio now expects all town roads to be "passable" by this evening he said, after speaking with Highway Superintendent Glenn Jorgensen after Patch's initial interview.

Passable, Vecchio said as told by Jorgensen, means roads would be opened up enough for at least one car could go down them.

Further work to bring plowed streets down to street level and remove snow piles from commercial sidewalks and lots will be carried out over the upcoming week, he said, adding that he was only relaying info from his highway superintendent.

"There is an elected highway superintendent. I have no control over how he plows his roads. He is elected, he doesn’t work for us. He works for the highway department," Vecchio said.

Original Story – Smithtown officials on Monday morning said all roads should be clear and passable after Friday's blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on the region.

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said highway department crews worked well past the 5 p.m. Sunday deadline until midnight to ensure all the town's roadways were passable for the morning commute.

"I think they did a wonderful job under the circumstances, people may not realize that," Vecchio said.

Town crews facing numerous difficulties clearing more than two feet of heavy, wet snow on the area's roads.

"A lot of equipment has been broken down, big trucks were getting towed out because they were stuck in the heavy snow," Vecchio said.

Vecchio said he was doing the best he could to get information out, speaking with News 12 as there weren't many media out there. He did not return multiple calls from Patch to his office from Friday through Sunday.

There are more than 100 town plows heading back to work on Monday morning, according to the supervisor. Highway Department crews are hoping to remove enough snow to reach asphalt as forecasts call for freezing rains on Monday. Payloaders will be used to remove large piles of plowed snow from commercial sidewalks and lots.

In addition to the town's crews, they have received aid of three payloaders from the state's Department of Transportation and two payloaders from Suffolk County by roughly 5 p.m. Sunday.

Vecchio asked for residents to be understanding that town has been working on the roadways as quickly as possible.

"People have to understand it was heavy and wet snow, very difficult to push to the side with these trucks. It was obviously slower work than if you were pushing 8 to 9 inches of snow," he said.

But the time it took to clear town roads has residents frustrated.

"In all past snowstorms, Smithtown's prompt response to road cleanup was better than that of any other town in the county. Even side streets would be plowed during the storms so that accumulation was minimal. What happened this time?," commented Mary Jane Bennett.

Bennett, who writes that she is a Nesconset resident of 35 years, had not seen any plows by 5:32 p.m. Sunday.

"There has been no sign of a plow or any kind of snow clearing equipment. It's ridiculous that schools are being closed due to lack of snow removal 2 days after the storm has passed. Something is very wrong with this picture," she said.

Others compared the town's response to LIPA's reactions to Hurricane Sandy.

"This is Vecchio's LIPA moment. He totally fell down on the job. After this debacle,he should retire. A couple of neighbors with plows on their pickup trucks plowed Fourth St. in St. James. Where is the Smithtown Highway Department," wrote Mike Bauer.

Lack of public communication from the town's leaders left residents angered and frustrated, wondering when they would be plowed.

"Town Supervisors from surrounding towns informed their residents early on and frequently during the Sandy restoration and this blizzard. Smithtown is always last with the least information," wrote Christine Radcliffe.

The supervisor said he did have the town's website updated twice over the storm: 6 p.m Saturday and near 6 p.m. Sunday.

There is a third update posted at 9:30 a.m. Monday that reads:

Town of Smithtown Highway and Parks Departments are continuing to clear Smithtown roadways. Please be patient as there is a tremendous volume of snow to be removed. Please do your best to keep vehicles off the roadways.

Residents still facing difficulty with unplowed streets can call the Highway Department at 631-360-7500 or Public Safety Department at 631-360-7553.

Darla Shine February 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Has anyone seen Vecchio? In real life? Over the past four days? He called into Channel 12 twice but was he on any video out with his people? Was he on 347 Saturday when people were being dug out? Where is he? Florida?
Daniel Tobias February 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Hey Vecchio, WCBS news is driving around Smithtown and Islip LIVE and finding unplowed streets!!!
MMG February 11, 2013 at 11:56 PM
When you call Vecchios office 360-7600 the phone just rings and rings then you get disconnected . What are we going to do this weekend. More snow on the way.
Liberty February 12, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Talked to a few of the town employees who were driving the plows. They said the regular plan for snow removal was used but the amount 30 inches and the heavy type of snow made everything slow down. The first day of overtime was nice but after that they wanted to be home. remember they have homes to dig out just like us. I truly believe that most posters on this site understand the enormity of cleaning up after a storm of this magnitude. I have lived here for fifty years and only the 1978 storm could compare.
Peggy Gilmartin February 12, 2013 at 12:20 AM
RB....I heard the same thing....and the streets are truly a mess...I feel for the bus drivers who need to get our children to school safe tomorrow. The guys in the School Dist. did a wonderful job cleaning up all weekend...the schools are open and ready, but are our streets???
Liberty February 12, 2013 at 12:27 AM
is this Joe D from flushing depot
Pete February 12, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Highway Dept. 360-7500. They will only replace with a standard rural metal mailbox,black or white (don't know if they ask your preference), on a standard 4x4 post. So if you had a decorative or Rubbermaid mailbox you are not given an equivalent box.
Darry Bilco February 12, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Trust me - in next week's Smithtown News you will see multiple photos of Glenn J. shoveling snow, manning the phones, directing traffic, saving puppies and helping old ladies get to the doctor's office. These photos will be used again on his reelection brochures telling everyone what a hands on guy he is....
dennis February 12, 2013 at 01:04 AM
good point!
John February 12, 2013 at 01:48 AM
I had to plow our street sunday when the town dumptruck driver told me that he was told to "stay off the backstreets". He also said that the trucks were going out without sand which would have helped them by adding weight and traction. I was out plowing privately all night friday and saturday and saw many Smithtown Highway dump trucks stuck in the snow and getting pulled out by heavy equipment. We're dealing with good hearted town drivers, trying to do their best, working 48 to 72 hours straight, and a useless superintendent and supervisor.
SPR February 12, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Half these town highway workers today are hopped up on heroin, coke and booze. In 1978 those guys knew what they were doing.
John J. Gallagher February 12, 2013 at 02:37 AM
WHO were the private contractors who cleared Broadview Avenue during the storm....I know their name was on the truck(s) as they passed....but I was too far to discern the name......my THANKS to these guys.....I'd appreciate having the chance to thank them......
Truckco.3 February 12, 2013 at 02:47 AM
If the world was going to end who would you blame .. You all literally look for anything to blame somone for...you would have no idea what to so if you would have to take thigs into your own hands. Suck it up and get over it
Truckco.3 February 12, 2013 at 02:50 AM
Spr grow up.. Are you serious?
Truckco.3 February 12, 2013 at 02:52 AM
And for all you people assuming... That te highway workers stopp working at 10pm you are wrong. 100% wrong. Where do you make things like this up?!?!? It's hilarious
unknownauthor February 12, 2013 at 02:55 AM
I can't believe that Smithtown and Hauppauge schools are going to be open when so many neighborhoods are not plowed. What happened to putting our kids safety first. No way the buses can safely navigate the streets.
Jimmy Justice February 12, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Ladies and Gentlemen , If you were to grade Mr Vecchios'( Vecchio in Italian means "old") performance,for his leadership in taking care of business during Hurricane Sandy and now this Snow Plowing Disaster in the town of Smithtown....His grade would be PISS POOR. It is time for old man Vecchio to retire in Florida and join the rest of the Cottonheads and Shrivels playing cards intheir little retirement community. Its obvious we need new young blood in Smithtown to run things properly
Miss Taken February 12, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Hopped up? Who says that anymore? You must be quite old SPR. And there is drug testing, by the way.
josef February 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Alright everybody it's time to stop venting! Let's look ar the bottom line-- Storm is over,the workers made a bundle,as usual Pat came out on top. Your taxes will go up to pay for this and we're getting more snow this week. Come this November ,Pat will beat anybody who runs against him without any effort at all on his part. I've lived in Smithtown since Pat first took office and I'm well aquainted with the operation of a broken record.You know you don't see lots of people moving out of town ,in fact homes are sold very quickly here. We meet a lot of people from Long Island when we vist N.C. but never anybody from Smithtown.
Argile February 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM
You don't see anyone from Smithtown in NC because they can't sell their homes here. Nobody's going to buy a home in Smithtown with 5 digit property taxes. Some guy off of Lake Ave tried to sell his house a few years ago for ~$625k. People must have laughed their butts off when they saw that price. I know I did. Guess what? The For Sale sign came down and they're still living there.
Connie February 12, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Truckco.3. Are you kidding. 5yrs ago we had one blizzard after the other. Trucks worked fine. Who is working now?????? no one. We didn't see a plow come down here in Smithtown till 7pm sunday. one time only and did one street in my development. HELLO
Connie February 12, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Funny
Ann February 12, 2013 at 02:28 PM
It's over for now - so why don't we just put an end to it - and realize that Vecchio and Jorgensen are nothing but Assholes (Republicans against the Democrats)
Kathleen O'Sullivan February 13, 2013 at 01:53 AM
People of Smithtown township . Where have you been ? I guess you were not paying attention. Our roads are falling apart in most areas and have been for awhile, So maybe in November you will get out and vote for a better government for the town.
Liberty February 13, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Will our taxes go up? Yes don't you think you should wait till the economy turnsaround or are we going to force people to move and young kids not buying in. Wake up everything was fine till 30 inches of snow came and now we want to change the world. Got it Relax
Larry H. February 13, 2013 at 04:38 AM
Exactly what planet was he living on?It took 2 days for the plows to hit our street. and then when they did, they made a single pass. I had approx. 6 additional feet of snow that was piled up 4 feet high that i had to shovel through just to reach the street from my driveway. It made pulling out and in my driveway almost impossible. My neighbor asked the plow driver not to pile the snow up too high on our corner houses. We live on a very dangerous curve on Kings Park Rd, & the last time the piled the snow too high, and bad car accident happen from them being T-Boned. When my neighbor made the request, the driver cursed her out. When my neighbor that lived next to her confronted the supervisor on the street. He was equally as rude. These employees have no respect for the people that pay their salaries. As i was standing in the apron of my driveway. The truck drove by slowly with the plow up. The driver looked at me as he passed by. He could have motioned to stand back, but he didnt. I was unaware that he was spreading salt/dirt. I heard the sound of my car being pelted with rocks, immediately followed by by body and face being pelted with the same mixture. I cant tell you how much that stung. All i can say is that he is damn lucky i was not hit in the eye as I would have gone after the town for all they were worth. Bottom line... Suffolk county, & the Smithtown township has proven time & time again how poorly equipped they are to handle emergencies of any kind!
joe voctoria February 13, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Starts at the top, Larry- Vecchio treats all his constituents rudely. He gets annoyed and agitated if you ask him a question . He is a nasty old man who is living high on the hog at our expense. There are resignations in Brookhaven bc of snow disaster. Do you think Vecchio would ever ADMIT anything and step down? NOOO , he will blame everyone else ! If he didn't go on tv and make his grand declaration that we would be plowed by 5 pm on Sunday ppl might be a little more forgiving. Then Monday he is back to say he won't take blame bc Highway doesn't work for him. If they had met the deadline he would have been taking full credit. He is a slime and needs to go!
Steve Chrobet February 13, 2013 at 09:51 PM
I know what rude is like Larry....there have been a number of occasions that town employees have been less than cordial. But honestly, I must have had the exception to the rule plow my street on Monday night. Not only was he thorough, but he stopped and actually spent a minute to converse with three of us standing at the end of our driveways sincerely APOLOGIZING for the delay in getting to us. He seemed quite sincere to the point where I even offered him a cup of coffee which he gladly accepted. If his intention was to quell the fire within me, he did a decent job. because after he left, I really couldn't think for a moment what I was complaining about. Oh yeah, the lack of snow removal, I remember. (lol)
Larry H. February 14, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Steve, its good to know that there are still some Civil Servants that are still able to remain "civil".
Dan March 04, 2013 at 02:55 PM
John, That was actually one of our neighbors. Look for the white pick-up truck on the left as you drive down the block.

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