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Thread: Waste Water Treatment Plant Criminal Investigation

  1. #16
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    From what I understand the increased cost of the pellet process along with "legal" fees have made for this increase. That is why some members of the TB have requested a state audit.

  2. #17
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    Costs

    I hear the figures of millions of dollars to operate the plant over the years however I don't know how much the cost would have been to bury the waste over the years. I was in attendance when Shelly Shratz brought down a proposal to sell the pellets. Granted it was a small figure for the pellets bot it was just a start. One of the examples give that night was that MIlorganite started that way in Milwauke. That reasoning gave way to politics as usual and the usual voted it down. This town will never progress until it gets rid of the unholy three.
    dono

  3. #18
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    For all his other many faults, foibles and "errs," our favorite wannabe journalist has been pretty much dead nuts on the money all along with respect to the sewer plant fiasco.
    His latest blurb is no exception.
    I'd predict that if "things" unfold soon enough, it will have a suprising impact on the makeup of the town board in 2006/07 and on.

  4. #19
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    Scoop for lazy jounalists:
    Unless Hevesi's crew finds something substantial before APD does (Hah!), the local "criminal investigation" will quietly be suspended (indefinitely) right around election day.

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    "Criminal Investigation"

    Does anybody have any idea what specific allegations are being investigated in this so-called "criminal investigation?" Absolivious, if I am reading your posts correctly, you clearly believe this "criminal investigation" is merely a diversionary tactic in support of some other agenda. I agree.

    As I recall, Grelick told us back in August 2000 that the problems had been solved by bringing in Microlink (Tom Watkins) to manage the facility. As I understand it, a lawsuit against Wendel Engineers, the firm that designed the project was settled on this basis. Everything was supposedly working correctly and we were saving money.

    Now, approximately 5 years later, we hear that the project has been costing us dearly. Apparently, the cost to operate and maintain the solids handling project on a yearly basis was supposed to run in the neighborhood of $300,000 to $400,000 per year. I understand it is costing us over $1 million a year to operate and maintain and I further understand that the amounts paid to Microlink are in addition to that amount. Add to that additional amounts in the millions for consultants, new equipment to try to fix the problems and the Canna Section 75 hearing and we have a monumental economic disaster on our hands.

    As this news has started to come out this year, Assistant Town Engineer Jim Johnson tries to blame the plant's staff alleging they have been misoperating the equipment. Those allegations are followed up by these more recent allegations of criminal activity. Wait a minute, I thought they told us before that everything was working right after Microlink was brought in. Now they are telling us that the plant staff has continued to resist the project by engaging in acts of sabotage and misconduct. Something does not add up here.

    What motivation would the plant staff have to sabotage their own facility and risk their jobs and livelihoods? Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

    On the other hand, Grelick, Bowers and Johnson would have plenty of motivation to blame the plant staff to cover their own intentional misconduct and/or incompetence. They will not be able to hang this on Canna since he has been gone for the last five years, so it looks like they are searching for additional scapegoats.

    Seems to me there ought to be a criminal investigation but not of the plant staff...
    The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions
    by the application of reason.

    -- Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Journalist

  6. #21
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    What motivation would the plant staff have to sabotage their own facility and risk their jobs and livelihoods? Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
    Thier livelihoods? Ever notice the crap "government" officials get away with. I think once people are in the "system" they feel they are immune to things that would normally get you FIRED in the private sector.

  7. #22
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    WNY Resident, I think that your observation reinforces my point. The "government" officials here are (as I understand it from those who attended the secret meeting on July 20 at the Supervisor's office) Grelick, Woodward, McGuire, Bowers, and Johnson. I think one can reasonably question whether these officials are using their public offices and political power to bring charges of sabotage and criminal conduct against the plant staff in an effort to divert attention from their own culpability for the problems. If we are going to conduct an investigation, it seems their role should be investigated as well.

    The members of the plant staff are not "government" officials, at least in the sense that I understand you to be using that phrase. They are employees of the Town who live and work here raising their families and sending their children to our schools. They are not policymakers who might have a motivation to affect policy by engaging in the type of activity alleged.

    Even if as you suggest, they feel that they could "get away with" this type of conduct because they are part of the "system," that does not answer the question of what their motivation would be for doing so. In other words, even if they think they can get away with it, what are they trying to achieve? It simply does not make any sense to me that the employees at the plant would intentionally sabotage their own facility. I cannot imagine what they would hope to gain by doing so.
    The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions
    by the application of reason.

    -- Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Journalist

  8. #23
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    From what I have heard, they are trying to go after some well liked, decent employees that as been posted here, can be the scapegoats. I think more needs to be investigated into the overall motives and decision making of the second man in charge of this department. Many of you may not know that this individual worked for the major site development designer in this area and his name can be found on alot of documents (certifications). He is one of a few employees that they will not challenge his actual residency (just ask MANY employees of his department). This Town has paid too much $ in an attempt to prove some sort of political point, but I give no credit to a Town Board member who has a legal background and has been heard saying he was aware of problems on how this hearing was authorized. He cost the taxpayers for his own political gain.

  9. #24
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    The members of the plant staff are not "government" officials, at least in the sense that I understand you to be using that phrase. They are employees of the Town who live and work here raising their families and sending their children to our schools. They are not policymakers who might have a motivation to affect policy by engaging in the type of activity alleged.
    I refer to everyone in the system including government employees. I believe government officials feel more immune than government employees but both groups do.

  10. #25
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Lets say the pellet project could of cut 20% of the employees of the department. WOuldn't that be reason for a few to not want the pellet project to succeed? I'm not saying this is the reason but coudln't that be a reason to have the project fail?

  11. #26
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    More comentary from JT on this topic.

    JUSTICE HAS TO BE EQUALLY ADMINISTERED
    By James *******

    www.amhersttimes.com

    Aug 5, 2005, 19:35

    If the public would like to know what really happened at Waste Water Treatment Plant 16 they should attend the Canna hearing Monday, August 8th at the Harlem Road Community Center. One of Wendy Taber’s main operators involved in digester operation will be testifying. A small group of workers, who were responsible for operating Plant 16, is using the ‘Hitler Defense’. What they say, under oath, is that they always followed the orders given by Mr. Canna; even through they knew it was wrong.


    The average worker at the plant wasn’t guilty of any wrong doing but sabotage did occur at mid-management level. If anyone wonders why they followed Canna’s wrong orders and why they haven’t changed them since he left, it would be because they are afraid he will be back. The operators and the orders they gave is what caused the problems at the plant for the last 5 years. Giving incorrect orders on how to run machinery cost our Town millions of dollars. After Canna left, Wendy Taber oversaw operations in the plant with Terry Hausler. Wendy Taber has flip flopped her testimony in the present hearing against Anthony Canna and turned against her icon. Terry Hausler is the other main operator who asked for immunity before he would testify. His request was denied. Why does he need immunity?


    These people fall directly under the Town Engineer’s authority. He tried to stop things that were occurring in the plant by sending angry memos which were ignored. The Town Engineer was assaulted by Tony Canna in front of witnesses yet did nothing, even though Mr. Bowers has two black belts in the martial arts. Supervisor Grelick was informed of the problems at the Plant and swept them under the rug.


    Now the heat is on and the Town Engineer and Supervisor are cooperating with the authorities. The judgment of decent people would be to try these people in court on criminal charges. This includes the Supervisor, Town Engineer and any operators who gave the orders to sabotage the plant operation which has cost our town millions of dollars.

  12. #27
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    Originally posted by WNYresident
    Lets say the pellet project could of cut 20% of the employees of the department. WOuldn't that be reason for a few to not want the pellet project to succeed? I'm not saying this is the reason but coudln't that be a reason to have the project fail?
    Anything is possible but my understanding is that the project actually required the Town to hire additional people and has required a lot more overtime. In fact, yearly overtime costs have risen from approximately $60,000 per year to over $200,000 per year. But they do not tell us about that little factoid when they try to claim this project is saving us money.

    Also, in 1998, the Plant won a national award for operations and maintenance from the EPA. Then Bowers and Johnson brought in Watkins in the fall of 1998. We have not received an award for anything, as far as I know, since 1998 and now we hear the project is a massive failure when we were told before how great it was working.
    The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions
    by the application of reason.

    -- Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Journalist

  13. #28
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    Re: More comentary from JT on this topic.

    Originally posted by WNYresident from Article by JT on Amherst Times
    "The average worker at the plant wasn’t guilty of any wrong doing but sabotage did occur at mid-management level. If anyone wonders why they followed Canna’s wrong orders and why they haven’t changed them since he left, it would be because they are afraid he will be back. The operators and the orders they gave is what caused the problems at the plant for the last 5 years. Giving incorrect orders on how to run machinery cost our Town millions of dollars."
    WOW, as the saying goes, those are "fighting words." For JT's sake, I sure hope he can back-up what he saying with facts. If not, he better have good liability insurance . . .

    As for the content of the article, I have the following comments:

    First, I thought they did change things once Watkins got there in early 2000. Isn't that why we have paid him over $1 million in the last five years? In fact, if memory serves, I think it is JT who has consistently claimed that Watkins saved the Town money. Is he now conceding that claim was false? If so, we need to get our money back from Watkins.

    Second, what "wrong orders" are we talking about here? Given the seriousness of these charges, I would like to hear an explanation and see some documentation on how these wrong or "incorrect orders on how to run machinery cost our Town millions of dollars."

    Third, does JT actually believe that the operations staff continued to follow these allegedly wrong orders because they were afraid Canna would be back? Again, I thought Watkins was managing the facility after Canna was removed. Is JT now trying to tell us that Canna is still in control of the facility five years after he was removed and notwithstanding the over $1 million we have paid Watkins to allegedly manage the facility. You've got to be kidding me. This is getting more bizarre by the minute.

    From my perspective, it appears the Town is now conceding that the project does not work and that it is costing us a lot more than it is saving. Isn't that what Mr. Canna tried to tell the Town Board would happen before he was removed in 2000?

    It seems to me this whole sordid mess is now coming full circle and the fallout is starting to land where it properly belongs -- on the heads and shoulders of those responsible including the town engineer, the assistant town engineer and the members of the board who have supported them.
    The sign of intelligent people is their ability to control emotions
    by the application of reason.

    -- Marya Mannes (1904-1990) American Journalist

  14. #29
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    The Amherst Times should not have posted the names of employees that are being questioned. Some of these employees have been hardworking, loyal members of a very difficult occupation. How many of you have ever visited this facility and see what these people do daily. How would you like to deal with human and other waste material? It is not all automated and human contact with the process is expected. This boils down to politicians trying to cover a situation that went poorly and can be blamed by decisions made at the highest level. These employees will become the scapegoat for many events (past and present) that have happened in this department. Maybe someone should ask the department heads how they messed up the latest disipline of an employee that is a detrement to the department?

  15. #30
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    Politics as usual

    This is a thread that is going no where. It's the politcal season and everyone is twisting the story toward their own end.The sensible thing to do is let the police investigation play out. Executive seasons to discuss the status will only lead to leaks to the public (like JT).
    Schratz has no money. Even the Reps don't like her, she's a real witch. So she's trying to get in the press with every manipulation she can use. Maybe some peolple will forget her days as a shrew but I'm betting she's a dead duck already. What you are really watching is her political death rales.
    dono

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