Some claim workers delayed NYC snow cleanup
December 30, 2010 2:26 p.m. EST
Sanitation workers clear snow at a Brooklyn intersection on Wednesday, December 29.
New York (CNN) -- Four days after a monster blizzard blanketed much of the northeastern United States, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will investigate whether sanitation workers intentionally delayed cleanup efforts over frustrations regarding citywide budget cuts.
- "It would be an outrage if it took place," the mayor said
- The sanitation commissioner says he has seen no evidence of intentional delay
- A city councilman says he was told supervisors ordered workers to slow down
"It would be an outrage if it took place," Bloomberg said Thursday, stressing that his administration's primary focus is clearing streets in the city's outer boroughs. Some neighborhoods remained snowbound for days after the storm.
Rumors swirled across New York on Thursday that sanitation officers ordered rank-and-file workers to slow down cleanup efforts in retaliation for the city's belt-tightening measures.
City Councilman Dan Halloran said three sanitation workers and two Department of Transportation supervisors came to his office saying their supervisors ordered the slowdown, telling workers that "the mayor will see how much he needs us" and that "there will be plenty of overtime."
Bloomberg: 'Response was inadequate'
Cabbie helps stranded traveler
The slow clean-up effort hampered morning commuters, delayed first responders and even prevented aircraft service personnel from reaching airports where 29 international flights were stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours, officials said.
The head of New York's sanitation workers' union earlier blamed harsh winds and budget cuts as reasons for the slow response.
"We were 400 people short," said Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association. "There are certain services that should not be affected. The people pay taxes for it."
Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty said he had not seen evidence of a worker protest.
"But we have to look into that," he said.