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Thu., Sep. 3
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Another city cock-up


To The Editor:

A notice was placed on the “official” city website advising people that they were not to place chairs, tape, etc., on city-owned property along Ford Street prior to the day of the Seaway Festival Parade. It was to be on a first come, first served basis. There was also a notice on the Internet and in the local paper. The notice stated that chairs would be confiscated and stored by “city staff.” Nowhere in the notice did it clarify who city staff was.

On July 26 I called the police station and asked if they were the “enforcers” of this ruling. The person who answered did not know. He put me on hold and when he came back he said the Department of Public Works would take care of the problem. I then called DPW and asked the same question. The person answering the phone didn’t have a clue as to who would enforce and said probably the police. I asked if he knew who was in charge of the Seaway Festival and again, not a clue. He then called the Recreation Department and told me the names of two people in charge of the festivities. I asked him to call the city manager and ask the same question. I gave him my phone number. Later, after not hearing anything, I stopped in at the DPW and Wally said he had called the city manager at least three times with no answer. This was getting late in the morning. I asked why the manager’s secretary didn’t answer. Wally apparently finally contacted the manager’s office and Mrs. Barrett told him that Mr. Pinkerton was in a meeting, but that when he was available he would call me personally. Either Mr. Pinkerton was never given the message or perhaps he decided against calling me, because it never happened.

Driving down Ford Street, I observed the sites where chairs, etc., were lined up on the public right of way. Now the public right of way is city-owned property and, if you look at the city codes, there are a lot of restrictions concerning the public right of way. I submit that anyone with a reasonable amount of intellect would conclude that anything posted on the “official” city website is authorized/sanctioned by the city manager. I would also suggest that there be better clarification of such notices such as defining “city staff” and defining “city-owned property.”

This letter in no way is intended to cast aspersions on the parade itself, but to point out the lack of clarity and specificity in the notice posted on the city website and the lack of communication between departments so that all would be aware of the edict posted by the city.

When I read the notice, I felt that it was about time this was done, as it seemed quite unfair that those who live on lower Ford Street should be able to monopolize the public right of way to view the parade to the exclusion of all other citizens of the city who might like to utilize those areas. I should have known better that there would be a problem with communication. In my estimation it just became another 13669CC (stands for Ogdensburg city cock-up)!

Drusilla Howland


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