The Great Non-Blizzard Of 2017

Word came Monday night from the Governor of New York State that a State of Emergency had been declared. This monumental decision to declare a State of Emergency was made well in advance of any snowflakes fluttering down from the sky. This created a state of confusion in Albany (capital city of New York State) as by Tuesday morning only a couple inches of snow had fallen in the city. Other parts of the state did see more significant accumulations. Above ground, subway service had been suspended as was bus service. The problem was the number of inches snow that fell was far short of the magnitude to put such drastic measures into effect.

So here we sat waiting to hear further word from our fearless weather forecasters (after they bungled this forecast the vast majority of them went into hiding due to embarrassment) along with word from our esteemed governor, in addition to our dearly beloved mayor (who is beloved by his family but certainly not by the New York City Police Department or the majority of New York City residents) when the not so severe weather conditions would allow for resumption of bus and subway service. By Tuesday night our Governor lifted the State of Emergency. Garbage pickup remains suspended to allow the “cleanup crews (snow plows that are nothing more than garbage trucks with shovels now attached to them) to clear the roads that were not in need of cleaning. They did, however, manage to create their usual mess for pedestrians to navigate.

Have pity on us poor pedestrians since we are the ones most affected by snowfalls that measure over two inches. If you are not an avid mountain climber, prolific ice skater or Olympic gymnast getting around on foot is a nightmare. Not to mention an accident waiting to happen as the saying goes. You are left with no recourse other than climbing over mounds of snow left by the New York City Department of Sanitation (as part of their “clean-up process) onto sheets of frozen slush which serve as the base for our sacred snow mountains. After decades of numerous snow falls it is befuddling as to why clearing the fallen snow is done in such a haphazard manner. A man has walked on the moon several times over but something as rudimentary of removing snow is still a seemingly unsolvable mystery.

Our neighbors to the north of New York City deal with numerous snow events year after year minus the problems that snow presents to us except for the Metro-North Railroad which is operated by the same good folks who run the subway system. Granted sidewalks in the suburbs are not overly common since nobody walks but if they were more in evidence I am comfortable in predicting their process would not hold the same drama as it does for us. We cannot learn their methods of dealing with snow as whoever is Mayor of New York City usually has no love or use for the Governor except when more money is needed from the state with even less need for the elected officials in the towns and villages of the suburbs. Coordinated communication in conjunction with cooperation amongst those who “serve” us is not plausible since you cannot have a unified approach to solving problems. Massive chaos would ensue if that were to happen.

The greater New York City area is not unique insofar as the challenges that have to be met. New Yorkers are seen as being obnoxious anyway so we get more negative press than our counterparts. Due to the population size of the state coupled with our geographical makeup creates the image that the difficulties we face are that much more severe. The reality of the situation is that we are not up to the task of solving our own problems. Further evidence of this is the fact that New York’s finest (our police officers) have this childish rivalry with New York’s bravest (our firefighters) that exists and has been allowed to exist for as long as many of us can remember.

According to the New York Post, weather forecasters from the Federal Government knew ahead of time (I guess they know how to properly read radar reports) that this epic storm was not going to happen. Incredibly this forecast was not relayed to local channels for fear that receipt of this information would cause massive confusion. Imagine snow plows that are ready to plow, salt spreaders that are ready to salt icy roads with nothing to do would have caused them to trip over each other while walking around scratching their heads in search of whatever it was that they would be searching for. Not to toot my own horn but when I looked at the radar tracking it clearly showed the storm would be stationed to our south as it was headed in that direction.

Now that we have or should have plowed (buried) all the roads that needed to be plowed the quandary becomes when does it become safe to pick up garbage again? We have an existing contest to see if we can make garbage piles that will rival in height to the snow that was dumped on the corners. Judging by the legion of hopelessly buried cars (you did not believe me when I told you of the ineptitude of our snow plowing efforts) my money is on the snow. Although the piles of garbage that are piling up on the sidewalks may yet emerge as winners of the contest. A tie between the two is a possibility judging by the way things are going.

Before I can consider this article to be finished I must pick out who is the main culprit that contributed to the current state of the city. Is it the weather forecasters who despite advanced technology were not even close to being right in their forecast? This was not their first gaffe nor will it be their last. Or is it the bold and daring “plow” operators who once again showed doing things the wrong way is the only way for them to go? For good measure, we should add in New York City Mayor DiBlasio and New York State Governor Cuomo for their contributions. After mulling over all of the evidence I have come to conclude that there was no one main culprit as they all added slices to the pie of incompetence.

Just so you know the northern suburbs did get their fair share of snow but far less than the predicted avalanche. The difference with the amount of snow they did get was how the situation was handled very effectively. So how is it they can do almost effortlessly what we are so inept at? The effective process that they have down to a science is no small factor. The key element is having people in place that can positively replicate their procedures time after time winter season after winter season. In the city dubbed “the greatest city in the world” sadly lacks an effective process along with qualified personnel to create and implement an effective strategy.


Joel Elveson
Joel Elveson
INDEPENDENT Executive Recruiting By Joel is an "up and coming" Executive Search Firm formed and headed up by Joel Elveson whose visionary ideas, leadership & creativity have brought to life a more "user-friendly" approach to recruiting. His clients and candidates form powerful strategic partnerships that we use to help you. Joel’s Firm offers Permanent, Temporary (case by case), & Temporary To Permanent staffing solutions for all of your Human Capital Requirements. Contract IT/Consultants are available if needed. Above and beyond they are experts (by way of their personal industry work experience) with mortgage, mortgage banking, middle-market banking, accounting, along with many others under the vast financial spectrum of disciplines. Their business goes beyond candidate recruiting as they also train, mentor and develop your internal recruiting staff with an eye towards helping you reduce the cost of hiring. They will also work in areas such as compensation, effective onboarding processes and alike. In other words, their business is to help your business by becoming an extension of you by filling in gaps that cause delay or waste. The recruiting methods employed by Joel’s team are time tested that results in a high rate of successful placements. Joel was trained in the art of recruiting by some of the top staffing industry executives in addition to the best recruiter trainers who to this day drive me to exceed the lofty goals he has set forth.

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  1. Ken,
    I could not agree with you more! It seems as time has gone on and technology has certainly evolved the weather forecasts should be more accurate. Despite all the advances we have in technology it seems as the accuracy of weather forecast has decreased dramatically. Thank you Ken as always for your readership.

  2. Weather forecasting is one of the few jobs where you can be wrong most of the time and not get fired. Political hacks, of course, are the others. Mix the two together and calamity is bound to reign.

    Governors around the country have become very trigger happy when it comes to declaring a state of emergency. I guess they fear being accused of not anticipating or reacting on a timely basis if something bad does occur. It also absolves entities like rail and bus service. They simply say they stopped service because of the state of emergency declared by the governor.

  3. As always, another great, thought-provoking article, Joel Sir! Your timely wake-up calls will make a difference once more of the same ilk take it upon themselves to make these thoughts go viral!

    It is about time the authorities wake up to the practical aspects of Public Service by looking outside their Ivory Towers, walking down the streets and talking to the real public that pays their extravagant salaries and all the hidden perks!

    Thank You!

    • Bharat,
      Thank you (as always) for your very kind compliment. It would be nice if our local leaders did speak to the public on a more regular basis to gauge our feelings as to what we expect from them. The problem is in many cases the different levels of government do not speak to each other. In that case they certainly will not speak to us even though we are ones who pay their “extravagant salaries” by way of the high taxes they have levied on us. Thank you again for your readership.