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Tuesday, June 1, 2010


For months now I have been calling Hartford's Director of Public Works Kevin Burnham regarding the Southend Wellness Center and the conditions of the building and the Police Offices housed in the building. Even before he was named permanent Public Works Director he has seemed to have problems returning phone calls, and not just from me, but others in the Community also. At one point in March I spoke with Burnham at City Hall and he stated it would all be fixed in two weeks. In fairness to him, he didn't say two weeks from when.

Possibly Burnham has received his training in message handling and returning phone calls from the John Fonfara Training Academy.

Anyway, according to several Southend residents I have spoke with, the heating and air conditioning systems at the Southend Wellness Center have been a problem ever since the City of Hartford purchased and renovated the building.

In January I was in the Southeast Police Substation, housed in the building on Maple Avenue, and since there was no heat, the temperature was 45 degrees. Last week I was in there again and since the air conditioning doesn't work and the windows don't open, it was 91 degrees.

The Department of Public Works solution to the heating problem was to place two small space heaters in the office and run wires up into the ceiling. A definite fire hazard as well as a very inefficient way of heating the offices. The solution for the air conditioning problem from DPW were two small residential air conditioners vented into the space above the ceiling. The air conditioners only run for a short time before they fill with water and shut off and then the holding containers have to be emptied to restart them.

Typical of the way the City handles construction projects, the Heating and A/C units were possibly installed by someone who used to run a hot dog cart on Union Place and was given the contract for the project. It worked on the Park Street bidding process. One would think though that at the very least some sort of warranty would be in place for rooftop units that are less than a couple years old. But then again, if the City holds the contractor accountable for their work, the campaign contributions might not be as large down the road.

On top of that, in January the Wethersfield Police "were attempting to stop" a vehicle headed north on Maple Avenue when it crashed into the front entrance of the Police office. They used to call them pursuits, but I guess that term is no longer politically correct. A light post, fencing, and shrubs were knocked over as well as the front doors being knocked out and replaced by makeshift plywood and a single door.

The intercom that visitors would ring to get into the Police Office was also broken and hangs by wires at the plywood entrance. A large plate glass window above the front entrance was also shattered by flying debris and that window is now held together with duct tape.

From what I understand, the vehicle that crashed into the building was insured, so where is the money to pay for the repairs and why does it take almost 6 months to get the building fixed and where did the money go?

I can almost guarantee that if this was the A/C or heat in the Mayor's Office or Kevin Burnham's Office, it would not take month's to fix. Maybe this is another argument for getting Department Heads to actually live in Hartford, as the city's ordinances require. Maybe the Mayor can send his "Energy Czar" to witness the inefficient use of energy and make some suggestions.

Mr. Burnham, you should have the number from the numerous messages I have left, but it is also at the top of the blog if you need it. Maybe I should try calling 311 instead.

Hopefully DPW will correct this mess as fast as they did the graves in Soldiers Field when WFSB exposed that neglect. I-team please take note :)


Dara Coleman said...

Try his cell phone # 729-0847. May I suggest doing the caller ID blocking before dialing the #.

Jorge Pizarro said...

On an unrelated, yet related note, has Panagore sent you the April and May check registers??? Would be nice to know what they're spending $ on instead of fixing existing assets. Yet another reason why I am opposed to developing new parks and/or other capital projects when the city can not maintain and improve its existing facilities. There was a recent tax sale, maybe the city needs to start selling off the real estate it has but can not maintain.

Bruce Rubenstein said...

This is unacceptable when a city hall offical fails to return calls made.He should be fired or admonished, but probably wont be.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he can't return his calls without the permission of the mayor, and since the mayor is busy with his case he didn't give him permission to return calls.

Jake said...

No, it's not Eddie that has to give him permission, it's McMullen. Don't you all remember when Larry Deutsch wanted to meet with Burnham and McMullen ran interference. Burnham needs to remember that a Director works at the will of the Mayor. It may not be the next Mayor's will that he work.... then again, maybe he entered into an agreement with the city to revert to his old job should he be ousted with a new Mayor.

Jason said...

Have you tried calling his city cell phone as Dara suggested?



No I haven't called his cell. I think I made my point here, and I don't intend to chase him. I'll give it a few says and see what happens


As a side note, maybe we should post the cell numbers of City officials as a resource for readers here

Jarod said...

Actually, why don't you FOIA the names and phone #s of all city officials and employees with city phones. It may be more efficient than having us call 311 !!! Then, as a follow-up, FOIA the city's entire monthly telephone bill so we can see how much we tax payers are spending...

Jarod said...

P.S. I meant city CELL phones.