Selectmen “Fine” With Snow Removal

Alert “06880” reader Douglass Davidoff sent this along. It’s from Fred McKeen’s Connecticut Law Blog (“The Nutmeg State’s Widely Read Obscure Legal Journal”).

General Statute § 13a-107 says:

Whenever any highway becomes blocked with snow to an extent that renders the same impassable for public travel, the selectmen of the town in which such highway is located shall cause such highway to be opened for public travel at the expense of such town within a reasonable time thereafter, if they find the same to be required for public convenience and necessity. Any selectman who fails to open any highway so blocked, when requested in writing so to do by six taxpayers residing on or near such highway, shall be fined ten dollars.

Because Westport is chock full o’ lawyers (plus those who play them in disputes with government, the schools, neighbors and anyone else who crosses them), that sound you hear is folks scrambling to determine the legal definitions of “impassable,” “highway” and “a reasonable time thereafter.”

Followed by the sound of them finding 5 other taxpayers on or near such highway.

Which leads to the most important legal question: Who gets the 10 bucks?

Evergreen Avenue, after the Blizzard of 2013, but before snow removal. Happily, our selectmen will not be fined for this road. (Photo by Jill McGroarty)

Evergreen Avenue, after the Blizzard of 2013, but before snow removal. Happily, our selectmen will not be fined for this road. (Photo by Jill McGroarty)

30 responses to “Selectmen “Fine” With Snow Removal

  1. Whatever would have made D. Davidoff look at such a statute? Could it have to do with Bridgeport more than Westport?

  2. Adam Schwartz '75

    This law was approved in 1963, before email. How in the world could 6 people mail letters if the road is impassable? How is the mailman going to deliver/collect mail if the road is impassable?

  3. Bridgeport deserves to be fined up the wazoo for how they handled this weather.

    They are a joke and an embarrassment to Fairfield County. Their residents are just trying to live and get by, while their city government continues the corruption and exploitation.

    • Who elected the corrupt government? You get the government you deserve; there were choices, the people chose corruption.

      • (Anon53) You should not feel that way. Nobody deserves to live under those conditions. I hope that the Governor really does whatever he can to enforce higher standards on the Bridgeport Mayor and his staff. It is too bad that the private sector can’t take that city over. It should be doing much better.

        • You are imposing your values on others. The people of Bridgeport have revealed their preferences over and over again; they prefer what you might consider a corrupt and inept government. The citizens vote for the same regime each time they are given a choice. If the people of Bridgeport wanted a different quality of government, they would have it.

          • No. They just choose the regime that perpetuates the urban welfare mentality.

            Don’t help yourself – let the government help you. Because we have obviously showed our people, time and time again, how responsible and dependable we are (with the welfare checks). Duh!

            • And? That is the regime they prefer. Wouldn’t you? Their choice is rational given the incentives.

    • I could not agree more. Bridgeport – for the benefit of the people living there – should be dismantled with different portions being taken over by neighboring, functioning municipalities. Not one federal or state cent given to that city is intelligently, productively invested.

  4. I’ve been plowing for 35 years. This was a big blizzard. It was a 2 day event for the plowers. My larger truck was stuck in Bridgeport until 1 pm Sunday. They got more snow and cars were stuck in the roads delaying the plow trucks. People just need to be patient.

    • Sorry, Brad, but this is not about patience. This is about inept management and corrupt priorities. Why was Fairfield Avenue, a major road in Bridgeport, not plowed as of Sunday afternoon?

      Significant plowing in Fairfield up until the town line of Bridgeport and then? Nothing. Nothing at all. Patience is a virtue – but only in appropriate situations. This is all on the cities and their public works, not the impatient citizens stuck in their house.

  5. Richard Lawrence Stein

    This snowmaggedon….It was the most ridiculous occurrence of a natural element…. trying to deal with it in a safe logical manner…..was not going to happen….Not everything is corrupt…shit happens…and this was a lot of shit!!!

  6. Jim, maybe you are right. But maybe you are wrong. The city and state plowers have union rules limiting the drivers. They also need a clear path to plow. Bridgeport has some stupid city drivers (out to get a pack of cigarettes or beer).My driver could get out because of stuck cars. One lady wouldn”t let him help her cuz she didn’t trust the people trying to help.

    • Right. Foolish union drivers too busy getting cigs or beer. Exactly what I was talking about. You just proved my point.

  7. Richard Lawrence Stein

    Sadly CT and its cities have a history of corruption… Bport had Gannim(sp?),Waterbury had The sexual predator Giordano, and they had and we got Gov. Rowland also a Waterbury alum, but to cast this snow storm in a corrupt like doesn’t make sense… We are not alone in this craziness… LI has major issues… As does Hamden, and the areas around new haven county… Unfortunately this might be a situation where private action will serve better than public with such limited financial and personnel… As George carlin said when you have too much stuff you need to buy a bigger house so you have a place to put your stuff…well time for a new house…

    • Time for a new government. No more Malloy and his Stamford cronies. It’s getting old and tired.

      • I don’t disagree….cronieism is an abhorent aspect of so much what is wrong in many areas

  8. Richard Lawrence Stein

    I don’t disagree….cronieism is an aspect that mars many things in our world

  9. I don’t know how we went from snow removal to Bridgeport bashing, but I want to add my two cents…