Snowplow Cowboy?

A citizen has been telling me for awhile that a private contractor contracted for city snow removal that lives in their neighborhood is using a city contracted motor grader blade and snowgate to clear his personal driveway and the driveways of two of his friends in his neighborhood (as I understand it, one of his friends is a SFPO)*.

This occurred Monday, January 13th (when BTW, there was NO Snow Alert) between 5 and 6 a.m.  This citizen called to make the Street Department aware of this.  They were told a supervisor would address it.

OBVIOUSLY NOT, because he and a second motor grader were back in the neighborhood last evening (01-17-2020) clearing the same three driveways. 

Yesterday, the City issued a Snow Alert and notified the public that they would BEGIN to plow Zone 3 the morning of Saturday, January 18, 2020.

While some would say ‘this is a nice gesture’ I would likely agree, if it was a private contractor, but these maintainers are contracted by the city and outfitted with our tax dollars. In other words, a big no-no. What if some property got damaged while providing this ‘service’ or worse someone got hurt? Who would be responsible than?

*Who says POs in Sioux Falls don’t get fringe benefits? Free meals at the hospitals and now city funded snow removal of personal property.


#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.18.20 at 12:22 pm

Further proof that corporatism is like communism. The cosmonauts always get treated better.

#2 Snow Cowboy on 01.18.20 at 12:58 pm

This is not only wrong it likely is criminal theft of city resources. The drivers of these plows are stealing resources of the city for their own benefit.

This must be prosecuted.

#3 Plausible Deniability on 01.18.20 at 1:50 pm

Can you please explain in a little more detail this contractual arrangement? Does this private contractor who is operating this grader own the machine? Does the COSF have exclusive use of the grader during the contractual period, or can the owner of the machine use it for other purposes outside of snow even duties? Is the blade/snow gate equipment (separate from the motorized grader itself) on the contracted grader…bolt-on equipment actually owned by the COSF? I’d like to know if under any circumstances this “contractor” is authorized to use this grader while not performing contract-related (municipal property snow storm cleanup assignment) duties? A LOT of us in Zone 3 are awaiting side street clearing on nearly impassable roads intersecting with major Emergency Snow Routes yet this afternoon (Saturday 1/18 ). If this alleged special favor is being done in violation of a city contract while other taxpayers await timely street clearing, this contractor needs to be publicly shamed & FIRED ASAP – and also perhaps the COSF Street Supervisor who failed to address it in a timely manner.

#4 l3wis on 01.18.20 at 2:35 pm

PD, it is concerning for many reasons as you point out, BUT, let’s apply the KISS theory. Taxpayers pay for this service, it should be used to their benefit, and if there is any deviation from that, it should be addressed.

#5 Jon on 01.18.20 at 8:32 pm

I saw a contracted machine clearing out two driveways today a couple of blocks near Pettigrew elementary. I took notice because you don’t see a machine that large doing a house driveway very often.

#6 Plausible Deniability on 01.19.20 at 11:18 am

L3wis: I agree with you 100%. I wasn’t trying to give the machine operator an out. If there are holes in the contract that let unscrupulous operators slither through at taxpayer expense, it’s time to seal up that worm hole.

#7 Conservative Here on 01.19.20 at 1:24 pm

PD – I think you make excellent points and many questions need to be answered before we jump to conclusions. If the contractor owns the equipment then I would say he can do as he pleases with it as long as he is fulfilling and not violating his contract. If its city-owned/leased then this is BS. I just got my street plowed late last night and this is the 1st time this year the plow as come by so I am a touch pissy about the plows never making it to my street. It might be because I live in a Taupe House south of 57th, who knows.

Scott – Can you shed any insight as to why it “appears” our neighborhoods are not getting plowed and when they are its so far after the snow the cars have compactied it, etc

#8 l3wis on 01.19.20 at 1:41 pm

CH, that is a complicated question, so I will give you the Non-Neitzert short answer. We have a free-market, corporate welfare Republican in charge. Government is there to serve them in TIF and other corporate welfare programs while crumbs get thrown to the rest of us (even though we pay the Lion’s share of taxes thru retail). I really believe PTH and others think we should just work a little harder and buy AWD or 4WD vehicles so they don’t have to plow streets. While I understand the usefullness of 4WD truck gas guzzlers, I can only think of about 2 to 4 days a year I would need it. This is why we pay taxes, clean our f’ing streets and stop making all kinds of excuses you corporate greed pigs!

#9 Conservative Here on 01.19.20 at 1:57 pm

Hmmm ok – I thought we had plenty of money for street maintenance and clean up budgeted so I was curious as to why we are not spending it. We have gotten pretty lucky and this is the only ‘REAL” snow we have gotten t his year and it’s the middle of January. I am a free market capitalist but, my taxes should be used for, in my opinion, infrastructure, and emergency services for the most part. I am against handouts across the board, low and high income. Let things sort themselves out. This is why I firmly believe, no matter how good the intentions, we need less government, we all know they always end up sucking us dry, Republican & Democrat

On the other hand, I completely agree with you on the Truck or 4×4 comment. I don’t have one for one simple reason, cost!. Why spend $30-60k on a truck when I can spend 15-40 on a car/crossover. I can’t justify spending that kind of money for needing it 4-5 times a year.

#10 LJL on 01.21.20 at 6:00 pm

So if you have any contract with the city, you cant choose how to use you own machinery any way you would like? HUH

So if Merle and Roys gets the contract to relay asphalt along Minnesota Ave, they best not pave anything else?

Criminal Theft?

New level of moronism for this site.

#11 l3wis on 01.21.20 at 7:20 pm

LJL, you are exactly right, you can use YOUR equipment however you want to even with a government contract. Except, these maintainers are outfitted with equipment provided by taxpayers (snowgates) and they can only use that equipment in accordance with their contract (to clear city streets). If they want to take off the snowgates and remove snow from personal property, go for it, but as long as that equipment is on the maintainer, they can’t be willy nilly with it.

#12 LJL on 01.21.20 at 8:13 pm

You tell me I cant use my grader because your snowgate is on it, I’ll tell you what to do with your snowgate. I’ve seen these machines used on other projects while they have the gate on them. You’re a moron if you think they’re parked when it doesn’t snow.

Additionally I find it a bit hard to believe someone is using a motor grader to clear driveways. That’d be like mowing your lawn with a swather.

Your bitching about nothing again. I cant wait to watch Theresa wade into this stupidly pool.