PWD: We're going to hammer you (email thread with Commissioner McCarty)

Over the last 9 months, Monroe Street has suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Water Department. Questions in emails are regularly ignored, street repairs are never made...and generally horrible customer service is the norm.

The following email thread is from May 14, 2018 and seems to indicate that PWD's poor treatment of Monroe Street is ON PURPOSE:


FROM:
Katie (a neighbor on Monroe Street)

TO: 
Debra McCarty <Debra.McCarty@phila.gov>,
Mark Squilla <Mark.Squilla@phila.gov>,
Stephen Lorenz <Stephen.Lorenz@phila.gov>,
Monroe Street Neighbors Google Group

DATE:
Mon, May 14, 2018 at 1:02 PM

This is a bit long so I apologize but I thought I'd share a rather interesting phone call that I had with the water department this morning, just to add to our ever growing list of contradictions, etc. Unfortunately, I was in the car and couldn't record the conversation in any way and will not stop kicking myself for that as a PWD employee readily stated over the phone that the department was intentionally and willfully misleading us as a street.

I called PWD to check on wether our recent lateral repair satisfied the terms of the abatement notice they sent a week prior. The woman I spoke with initially eventually passed my call to a supervisor within the Customer Field Services Department named Matt (he did not give his last name, unfortunately). When he heard my address he immediately stated "oh, yea, they're hammering you hard on that street" and reported he "sympathized for our cause". He further elaborated that he had been told by his supervisors to not take calls from homeowners of our street, that they were no longer interested in working with us or negotiating, that his supervisors had repeatedly stated they were going to "hammer us", "shut them all off", "stick it to them however we can". He indicated that he wanted to help resolve the situation or provide any assistance that he could but that he had been "locked out" by his supervisors and not able to access anything within the system as his supervisors didn't want to "deal with us". He also said that supervisors had reported to him that they would not attend any further meetings and had no plans to continue communicating with our street, that when calls come in from our street, they are instructed to reroute them to other individuals.

I asked if he could see the results of our street testing and he reported that he could see that the dye test showed defects. I then asked about the GPR and he reported that he did see those test results and I asked if he could share them with me, he reported that he wouldn't be able to send me anything but that "from what I can see it does show a cavity under the main line--I wouldn't want to replace my lateral there either". 

At this point, he called over to a co-worker and stated "Hey, I've got a homeowner from Monroe, the street they're hammering so hard, how can we help her out?" and I immediately heard yelling in response and the line cut to hold music for several minutes. When Matt came back on the line, I heard laughter in the background and he reported that he couldn't be of assistance but that a different woman would help me. A new employee then immediately took the phone from him, very quickly stated that I should only be in contact with Ramona Watson-Mack, gave me her number (215-685-9653), and hung up.

Again, I don't have the conversation recorded but found it to be a very interesting phone call!! I've attempted to search their staff directory and find the employees name but haven't come up with anything thus far for exactly who Matt is. 

Anything I can do to help, please let me know!! This has gone on too long!

- Katie


FROM:
Debra McCarty <Debra.McCarty@phila.gov>

TO:
Mark Squilla <Mark.Squilla@phila.gov>,
Stephen Lorenz <Stephen.Lorenz@phila.gov>,
Monroe Street Neighbors Google Group

DATE:
on, May 14, 2018 at 3:30 PM

I do not know what phone number Ms. [REDACTED] called or who she spoke with.  However, there is no one by the name of Matt in our Customer Field Services unit.  Additionally, that unit would not have the GPR report.  The conversation as relayed is not an accurate reflection of PWD management's approach to the issues.  What I do know is that PWD continues to work to resolve all of the lateral related issues on the 100 block of Monroe St.


FROM:
Dave (a neighbor on Monroe Street)

TO::
Debra McCarty <Debra.McCarty@phila.gov>
Mark Squilla <Mark.Squilla@phila.gov>,
Stephen Lorenz <Stephen.Lorenz@phila.gov>,
Monroe Street Neighbors Google Group

DATE:
Mon, May 14, 2018 at 3:53 PM

I can personally vouch that people from the Water Department have been told not to talk to us. The Inspector on site just told me so. "Everything must go through the Commissioner's Office."

Is that normal? It would certainly back up Katie's story.


No further comment was received from Commissioner McCarty or the Philadelphia Water Department.

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