Top officials with Binghamton Public Works Dept. let go after st - Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Top officials with Binghamton Public Works Dept. let go after storm response


BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Binghamton Mayor Rich David (R) announced both the Commissioner of Public Works and the Deputy Commissioner of Public Works have been relieved of their duties.

According to Mayor David, Public Works Commissioner Terry Kellogg and Deputy Commissioner Jon Yeager were let go following the City's response to the storm last week.

"I recognize that there are some concerns regarding the cities response. I am ultimately the mayor of the city of Binghamton and it's my responsibility to take action," said David. 

David said last weeks historic snowfall exposed long-term issues with the City's Public Works Department.

"The city was not a leader in this area. The city was not the best with regard to snow plow removal and one of the things that I have pledged is to make Binghamton a leader," added David. 

But David said Public Work's response to the snow storm wasn't the only thing that prompted changes.

"I believe it's much deeper than that. I believe that there have been issues that existed for a long period of time that came to the surface during the storm," explained David. 

David said it shouldn't have taken Binghamton an additional 18 hours to get the City's roads under control. He also said removing the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are only one portion of the changes.

The city will be examining decades-old city ordinances regarding parking during snow removal.

"More students living downtown and the neighborhoods on the west side some of those neighborhoods on the west side, the ones where we had challenges, because cars were not moved off the road," said David. 

While many residents voiced their concern over the cities slow response to snow clean up, David said he's not sure what else he can do than take accountability and make changes.

"I believe that in some areas of the city the best and highest level of service was not provided to them [residents]," explained David.

12 News was live on Facebook for the announcement.

You can watch the entire news conference below:

According to the City of Binghamton, the department overhaul includes, but is not limited to:

- Reviewing the entire Public Works fleet, including number and type of heavy vehicles and equipment used in snow removal.

- Workforce reviews, including the number of drivers, equipment operators and training programs.

- Consultation with New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) on best snow plowing strategies, vehicles and training. The City will work with NYSDOT certified trainers and instructors to re-train City plow drivers.

- Examine decades-old City ordinances regarding on-street parking rules and emergency snow protocols.

- Change in management, as Mayor David has replaced current Public Works Commissioner Terry Kellogg and Deputy Commissioner Jon Yeager, effective immediately.

Early Thursday morning, former commissioner Terry Kellogg released the following statement:

Temporarily, City officials say Parks Commissioner William Barber has been appointed Commissioner of Public Works.

"Barber will supervise both the Parks and Public Works departments. Barber will also work with Mayor David to identify and groom new Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner candidates. Carol Quinlivan, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, will take on additional Parks Department duties and responsibilities during this transition." according to a news release.

The Department of Public Works is responsible for all road maintenance, street cleaning, snow removal, refuse collection, street lighting, traffic signals and pavement markings, according to the City.

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