Tuesday, March 11, 2008

770 vs. 1

In what is no doubt a legal first, 770 citizens are suing the Town of Greenwich for its mismanagement and misallocation of costs in the North Mianus sewer boondoggle. This project, which the Town awarded to an incompetent low bidder who then essentially walked off the job, was later given to another contractor at a much higher price. Some of the work was reportedly less than optimal, leading to more headaches and expenses for the harrassed homeowners. And then, to add insult to injury, the Town has allegedly tried to make them bear more than their fair share of the already-inflated costs.

Thanks to the indefatigable Sam Romeo, erstwhile RTM member and candidate for First Selectman, the neighborhood is up in arms. The lawsuit was served on the Town yesterday, and is being filed in Stamford Superior Court this morning. Undoubtedly the Town will lose, since its incompetence in managing the project and controlling costs has been front-page fodder for years; but equally undoubtedly, the Town will fight the lawsuit tooth and nail, throwing enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars down the drain with its customary bullheadedness. There seems to be a maxim in the Town's Law Department: "Rule #1: The Town of Greenwich can do no wrong. Rule #2: If in doubt, see Rule #1."

Now most municipalities would stop and think for a moment at a lawsuit of this magnitude. Is it possible that "mistakes were made"? Could there have been an error in the allocation of costs? Might the homeowners actually have a valid point? A wiser Town than ours would consider arranging some kind of out-of-court settlement to avoid humongous legal bills.

But this is Greenwich, dear reader, where the Law Department has been overrunning its budget for many years, hiring expensive outside counsel and steadfastly refusing to negotiate or consider offers in settlement. The result, in addition to the huge costs, has been adverse court and jury rulings that have far exceeded the original settlement offers.

Does this make sense to you, dear reader? It certainly doesn't to your scribe. But that's the way we do business here in Greenwich, and he doesn't expect to see it change anytime soon.


Blogger Malicious Intent said...

Sounds just like the Bush Administration.

March 12, 2008 7:16 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hmm...interesting parallel! It's probably no accident that W's father and grandfather hail from Greenwich, and he himself was born in CT, even though he pretends to be a Texan.

March 12, 2008 11:57 AM  
Blogger Barrie said...

Always interesting to hear what's going on in other little pockets of the country...

March 22, 2008 12:26 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Ah, Barrie, you have your head screwed on straight. Most people think of Greenwich as deep pockets, but your description of "little pockets" is far more accurate! :-)

March 22, 2008 10:52 AM  

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