Tuesday, January 04, 2011

APS frozen pipes excuse doesn't hold water

Every time the weather turns bad, APS taxpayers are on the hook for a few hundred thousand dollars in repairs.

No one else in Albuquerque seems to have nearly as much trouble. Sandia Labs doesn't have to re-roof every time it rains. UNM didn't have a have million dollars worth of frozen pipes to begin the new year.

Pipes don't freeze spontaneously; they have to be allowed to freeze.

In the Journal this morning, link, we find that one in four schools suffered damage from the cold. Albuquerque Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Brad Winter said Monday, ...,

"When you get a cold snap that lasts for three or four days, you get a little bit of wind and that's what causes some of these pipes that are in these ceilings to burst."
No, Mr. Winter, that is not what causes pipes to burst. Allowing them to fall below freezing is what causes pipes to burst.

I suspect that if we ever were to learn the truth, it was someone's responsibility to look in the ceiling to see if there were any pipes there that were likely to freeze. And it was some else's responsibility to make sure that the inspections were made and remediation completed. That chain of command runs to Brad Winter's desk. Only by the time it got there, it had morphed into "shit happens" and taxpayers have another half million to cough up.

In a particularly disingenuous moment, Winter offered,
"... the estimated cost of the damage, which includes overtime labor and materials, should be mitigated by insurance payouts."

Yeah, except that they way insurance works, if you are careless in protecting the assets the insurance company is insuring, if you're letting your pipes freeze and expecting the insurance company to pick up the slack, your premiums go up. Tax payers will pay for these repairs in the end, it is as certain as it is inevitable.

As an ongoing indicator of Winter's candor, forthrightness, and honesty, he still refuses to release the total cost of the million dollar board room he built, despite lack of any real justification for the extravagance.

There are oversight issues in the leadership of the APS.

Until those issues are resolved, APS roofs will continue dissolve in the rain, pipes will continue to freeze, and nearly half of students who enroll in the APS will not graduate.


Michelle Meaders said...

I thought APS was self-insured.

Also, I bet they turned down the thermostats over the holidays. They could have sent the janitors of each school to check them when they knew this cold snap was coming.

ched macquigg said...

APS is self insured in some respects. I would suppose there are over arching policies in worst case scenarios like rain or cold weather.

They could give kids who are dropping out, the opportunity to acquire an education that included on the job training in weatherproofing, building maintenance, painting, carpeting, carpentry, etc

Darryl Iorio said...

During the winter season, the water in the pipe freezes over, and if neglected, it expands and expands further causing the pipe to burst. Well, they could’ve insulated the pipes to prevent plumbing problems.