As of today, Mansfield has been under a boil order since last Thursday. Six days of having to boil water is taking it’s toll within the school district, and the businesses.
According to Mansfield Public Works Director, Ken Swilling Mansfield residents are urged to continue boiling their water. After speaking with Mansfield Mayor, Larry Austin, we’ve come to understand some details as to what’s happening, and it doesn’t look good.
When asked about the current state of the water tower repairs, Swilling replied, “We’re waiting on the Mayor (Larry Austin) to get us quotes to repair the water tower top.”
Why is the Public Works Department waiting on the Mayor?
Mayor Austin had to return our phone call after we initially tried to made contact with him. [8:18am Tuesday, December 12th]
[8:47am, Austin’s conversation goes as follows]
RP – “Thanks for returning our call. How long will the boil order last, and what is currently being done to repair the water tower?”
Mayor Austin – “I’m not real sure, but it will be lifted as soon as the water tower is repaired. Maybe 7-10 days?”
(Note: The storm was on Monday night, December 4th, boil order issued Thursday, December 7th.)
RP – “What is the current process being used to fix the tower?
Mayor Austin – “We’re waiting on quotes right now.”
RP – “Can you be more specific as to who WE actually pertains to?”
Mayor Austin – “Well. [long pause] It actually means me.”
RP – “So you’re overseeing the repairs, and quotes without any involvement from the public Works Department? Are you qualified to make opinions on the repairs itself?”
Mayor Austin – “The City makes the decisions and I enforce those decisions.”
RP – “Mayor Austin, if I heard correctly, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you’re attempting to solve an issue in areas you know nothing about. You don’t have the expertise, or know how to do this properly. Shouldn’t this be left to those who know how to fix it?”
Mayor Austin – “I’m waiting on a phone call from the people who built the tower.”
RP – “So, nothing has been done to repair the water tower? Are you doing anything else to help the citizens, or even the school district during this boil order?”
Mayor Austin – “Thank you.”
[The Mayor ended the conversation by hanging up]
Amidst numerous comments made by former City of Mansfield employees, this seems to fall right in line with their statements regarding the Mayor’s “way of doing things.” We would also like to know why the Public Works department is not the one overseeing the repairs, and who on the staff is properly trained and certified to make sure it gets done according to code.
The residents of Mansfield have patiently waited for more information since last Thursday when the boil order was issued. As of time to publish this article, the boil order is at day 6 (with the storm actually occurring on Dec. 4th) with no understanding as to how long it will continue to last. We do know that the water tower has to be fixed first, and that any work has yet to begin.