Jul 28, 2014

City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK

East Providence City Manager Peter Graczykowski provides an assessment of the city's performance during the Blizzard of 2013 to the City Council.

City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK City Manager: Blizzard Handled OK

East Providence’s city manager thinks the public works and other emergency management departments did okay during the Blizzard of 2013.

There were some complaints and some bumps in the road, said Peter Graczykowski, but overall the city manager thinks East Providence handled the storm pretty well.

Graczykowski gave a report to the City Council at its most recent meeting last week on the city’s performance during the storm, which dumped about 18 inches of snow on East Providence.

“I want to acknowledge the tremendous work done by public works and our public safety departments during the blizzard,” said Graczykowski, especially given the amount of the snowfall and the size of the equipment East Providence has on hand to deal with blizzards.

Many workers spent most of the weekend of Feb. 8-9 on the job, he said, including Wayne Barnes, East Providence’s emergency management agency chief. Graczykowski singled him out for particular praise.  

Graczykowski did offer several recommendations for handling future storms.

DPW should probably have put all of its heavy-duty vehicles in use right away, he told the City Councilors. And East Providence might have to pay private contractors at a higher rate and use them more frequently to keep them from going elsewhere in the future.

Graczykowski also recommended that East Providence use a “reverse 911″ call system, which allows government agencies to communicate with citizens more quickly during emergencies. 

The city manager also said the “warming center” set up at Barrington High School was sufficient for a while. But the longer the power outage continued, the more inadequate the shelter became.

He said the city must look into becoming a RI emergency management agency (RIEMA) regional shelter. That would qualify it to stock the shelter with food, cots and other supplies.

Specific complaints involved plows reportedly sitting idle or driving around with their plows up, Graczykowski said in a story in the East Providence Post.

“We’re taking all of these complaints seriously and we continue to look into them,” said Graczykowski. “If these things actually took place, what this alleged time wasting amounts to is cheating the city and the taxpayers, and that will not be tolerated going forward.”

What do you think of the way East Providence handled the Blizzard of 2013? Use the comment box below.

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