The needler in the haystack.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

DPW Fall leaf pickup schedule: A game of mother-may-I?



'Children's Games', Breughel (click to enlarge).


Not having received the Plainfield DPW's Fall Leaf Pickup schedule, I was told by a city employee at the Fire Safety Fair last weekend that copies were available at City Hall and the Plainfield Public Library.

Dropping by City Hall and finding none on the pickup table in the rotunda, I called the office at the DPW Yard where the ever-helpful Marie Davis told me they had some copies and I could pick one up.

When I arrived, Marie told me that there actually were some at City Hall -- inside the Mayor's office, as well as the Clerk's office.

It had never occurred to me the schedules would be behind the Mayor's locked door.

So, public information has become a matter of the old children's game 'Mother-May-I'?

Must we now ask permission and take two 'umbrella-steps' to get public information?

Back in the bad old days when I was responsible for printing and distributing the semi-annual schedule, we did it differently.

Since there are 16,000+ households, we printed up 20,000 copies (the extra 4,000 cost pennies more than an order of 16,000 would). After mailing to Plainfield households, the remainder were split between a number of pickup locations throughout the city, including the Senior Center, the Plainfield Neighborhood Health Center, Muhlenberg Hospital, the Plainfield Public Library, the DPW Yard, City Hall rotunda, Plainfield Action Services and Recreation in the Annex, and a variety of other business and community locations.

That distribution pattern seems to have fallen by the wayside.

I'm reproducing the SCHEDULE below for those who didn't get their mailer. If you don't know what zone you're in, I can't help you.

[
CLARIFICATION: The problem is not with the DPW, which evidently mailed the schedule in plenty of time. It is with the Administration's arrangements for those who need one but did not get it in the mail.]



CITY OF PLAINFIELD
DIVISION OF PUBLIC WORKS

SERVICE SCHEDULE: OCT - DEC 2009


ZONE
BRUSH &
YARD WASTE


STREET SWEEPING

LEAF COLLECTION

PICKUP 1
PICKUP 2
1
1 OCT

4 NOV
1 DEC
2
2 OCT
ALL STREETS
5 NOV
2 DEC
3
5 OCT

6 NOV
3 DEC
4
6 OCT
WILL BE SWEPT
9 NOV
4 DEC
5
8 OCT

12 NOV
8 DEC
6
13 OCT
ON A MONTHLY BASIS
16 NOV
10 DEC
7
14 OCT

17 NOV
14 DEC
8
19 OCT
WEATHER PERMITTING
19 NOV
16 DEC
9
21 OCT

23 NOV
18 DEC
10
26 OCT

30 NOV
22 DEC

CHRISTMAS TREES will be picked up during the month of January, 2010.
For information regarding Union County curbside collection (for those living along County roads), call (908) 789-3660.



NOTE: For anyone who's interested, it was moi who developed the pickup schedule and mailing to all households, including the map with zone markings and a cover letter from the mayor, a format Mayor Robinson-Briggs evidently does not find too shabby as a communications vehicle.



-- Dan Damon

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10 comments:

Rob said...

ok.. So let me get this straight. I was sitting here waiting for the brush and yard waste pickup schedule to be mailed, posted on the PMUA site...anything. My zone..Zone 5 had the pickup 2 days ago. So, in essence I was screwed. Thank you PMUA. My landlord's backyard, FULL of the yard waste I have generated due to me cleaning and shaping up the yard has to wait. Well Dan, thank you for at least passing on the information. It would have been great had the PMUA or the City thought that information might be pertinent. I can't imagine working with stupid government bureaucracy since I can't wrap my mind around it.

Dan said...

Hey, Rob!!

You may need to up your Zanaz drip... this one is not the PMUA, it's the city's Department of Public Works.

Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

Mine came in the mail a about week ago, in both English and Spanish, with a bi-lingual letter from the mayor which was referenced by OldDoc on October 2nd. I guess you guys have been deleted from the list. I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Gee guys, it's really a shame that you didn't get your DPW schedules in the mail. The schedule contained a lengthy message from our mayor about all she has done for us over the past 3 1/2 years. I'm certain that was done as a public service and not campaigning at public expense.

Rob said...

thanks Dan...I am confused. Though I admit, not surprised I got it screwed up ( for all the people who claim I am a negative Nellie regarding the city ) my ex-partner always mentioned when it was, though I thought he had called the PMUA when there was an issue with yard waste etc. Oh well...will call the city and see what I can do..
Thanks again.

Rob said...

Anonymous at 2:04PM...are you serious??? I missed the Assistant Mayor touting all she hasn't..I mean..has done ??? I for one do NOT need a mailer from the city telling me all that she has done. I can stare at the ground in my backyard and see all that she has accomplished ! And Assistant Mayor Sharon ( when you read this ), please don't think I am implying you have the ability to create dirt...Just so we are clear, I am still ripping on you. Only because you make it easier than falling down. It would be like passing up one of your free bribes, I mean lunches.

Anonymous said...

This is a continual game of lack of communication. Every season, I call Department of Public Works and ask about the schedules that never come in the mail. They always tell me go to City Hall to pick it up.

Why do I pay 7,000 a year in property taxes for this ridiculous lack of customer service and communication?

Oh wait, the new IT director (100K/yr) will be the answer to this and many other problems.

Yeah right...

I'm voting on Nov. 3 and it wont be for the clowns that let Muhlenberg shut down.

Anonymous said...

thanks Dan, -zone 5 family- new to pf and we're not on the mailing list. we have missed every yard waste pickup for 2009.

hey, does anyone know a great math and science camp for a 10-yo?

Dan said...

Thanks, 7:55 PM -- but you should have gotten one just because they are mailed to households, without a specific name.

The problem arises with bulk mail (I used to be in direct mail), and a certain percentage of it just never gets delivered, which is how I got on this tear in the first place.

As for match/science camp, there are some free parenting magazines on the pickup table at the Public Library which could be a good place to start.

Paul N. said...

Thank you so much Dan... I could not find this schedule ANYWHERE... and no one from the Public Works Department would return my calls.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!