The Town of Hempstead may well be correct when they tell us -- through propaganda guru, Mike Deery -- that the Town bears no legal responsibility for the mold debacle at Archstone at Moldbury.
After all, the laws on the books allow (we won't say "permit." That's a dirty word in Hempstead Town) the Building Department to delegate its duties to other spheres of influence, be they contractors, architects, engineers, or agents of the developers who foot their bills.
"Basically we rely on third-party inspections for projects of this nature because it's so big," Ray Schwarz, the Town's supervisor of inspection services for the Buildings Department, told Newsday.
How big? Soooooo big! Too big, apparently -- even at just 400 units -- for the overseers of America's largest township.
Wow. If Archstone is too big for Hempstead Town to handle, what will they make of the Lighthouse project at the Nassau Hub?
An even bigger mess, with a moldier outcome, we presume.
Tecnically speaking, the laws on the books give Hempstead Town the right to pass the buck to so-called "third-party" inspectors, most of whom owe their allegiances -- and their next meals -- not to the taxpayer, but rather, to the developer.
Its a cop out, of course. A legal loophole. The ultimate escape clause, where the Town can say with a straight face, "We're not responsible."
Its a kind of "don't look, don't tell."
If we actually inspect, sign off, put our own seal of approval on it, and something should go wrong -- as it sometimes does -- the Town is on the hook.
On the other hand, if we turn the other cheek, give the other guy the duty to make sure that everything is on the up and up, and you should discover an abundance of "water intrusion" forcing hundreds of residents onto the streets, the Town is in the clear.
In short, where the Town can pass the buck, it does so gladly and most willingly.
Look, its simple. Where there is no responsibility -- at least no legal responsibility -- there will be no one held accountable at Town Hall. Delegate the task, along with the public trust, and you're good to go.
Accountability. Highly overrated.
The old "hear no evil, speak no evil."
Its the same old story in Hempstead Town. Just look at the Town's special districts. They may operate under the Town's name, with interlocking directorates and interchangeable personnel, but, in fact, they are all seperate legal entities unto themselves, over which neither Town nor Town Supervisor may exert or claim any semblance of control.
Hey, if it works for the Sanitary Districts, why not for a little mold around the windows?
- - -
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "You can't be everywhere at once." Mike Deery, spokesman for the Town of Hempstead, commenting to Newsday on the Town's reliance on architects and engineers certifying their own work. Deery told Newsday, "most construction is completed when inspectors aren't watching."
No, Mike, the Town, unlike photos of Kate Murray, the Town Supervisor, can't be everywhere. Still, the Town has to be somewhere, sometime.
And we agree with your unwitting statement to the effect that, in Hempstead Town, most things happen when no one is watching.
- - -
For a real life view of the impact of the tragedy at Archstone upon real life people, check out http://www.thencameisaiah.blogspot.com/.