City manager responds to road claims

I am responding to a Letter to the Editor written by Mr. Tom Zielinsky, an educated man, that appeared in the WDT on November 25, 2018. He addressed a number of issues and in this response, I will address his statements about the deterioration of the major roads in our City, and specifically the condition of Culler Road.

On November 1, 2018, Mr. Zielinsky called my office and left a message with my secretary wanting to know if there was anything I could do to pave Culler Road before springtime claiming it was in horrible condition. He mentioned something in regard to it being a state road and that he did discuss the situation with his Councilman Mike Adams. When I returned his call, I asked why he was calling me because he already knew it was a state road and had he called his state representatives to report the problem. He had not called his state representatives, but was hoping “that I could pull a few strings.”

After reading his Letter to the Editor, I too was a little “befuddled’ by what I believe to be his ambiguous, disingenuous and intentionally misleading statements. He insinuated, but never clearly stated that he knew that Culler Road was a state road. He writes, “I wonder if the citizens of Weirton know we’re responsible to report problems with our roads to the state. How are we supposed to know which roads belong to the City and which belong to the state?” Very clever. He avoids ever admitting knowing that Culler Road is a state road.

You see Mr. Zielinsky, I know for a fact that you knew that Culler Road is a state road and has always been a state road and a WVDOH responsibility. I know that you have lived down in Pleasant Valley for over 25 years and this isn’t the first time you’ve had issues with Culler Road. And I know that you were informed then by your councilman that Culler Road is a state road and the City does not expend City monies to repair state roads. That is why we all pay state and county taxes. And you knew, without question, when you called my office that Culler Road is a state road.

Yet, you pretend in your letter to say how were you supposed to know which roads in Weirton are state roads and which belong to the city. Are you speaking for yourself or for others? I can tell you in the four months that I have been the city manager I have had one other call about Culler Road and that person readily admitted he knew it was a state road. I also spoke to a gentleman complaining about Harmon Creek Road. He had lived out there for many years and knew it was a state road, and I called him on it. No one else has called. Man up Mr. Zielinsky. No other calls on Culler or any other state road. The real reason you are upset is that I told you to call your state representatives. Interestingly, I know that you worked for the county at one point, so why didn’t you call your contacts there and pull a few strings?

We spend City monies on city streets and city issues, not on state responsibilities nor on private properties, unless of course, we are responsible for damage the City caused. The State has its own monies, its own budgets, its own manpower, and its own equipment to take care of their properties. The State has much more money than our community. They service about 30 miles of state road in our community, where we service about 200 miles of City roads.

Let me give you a hypothetical. I get a call from Councilman X about say three blocks of Orchard Street which are in horrible condition and need milled and repaved. The problem is that the city has expended its paving dollars and has no more money to take care of Orchard Street. So, I call my contact at the WVDOH office and ask them to pave Orchard Street in the city of Weirton. My contact there takes the call and then informs me that Orchard Street is a City street and is a City responsibility. There is no way that he can authorize the expenditure of state monies to pave a city street. And then he asks why I called him knowing that I know Orchard Street is a city street and not a state road. I tell him I was hoping he “could pull a few strings!” Sound familiar? The fact is there is a process to follow in addressing these issues. For City issues, you call your councilman who will then call me to address the problem. For state issues you call your state senators/delegates who then call the WVDOH office. That is their job. Their contact information appears in the WDT every week. And by the way, the process can actually work. When Ed Bowman was our state Senator, he was relentless in taking care of these issues that came under the purvey of state responsibility in his district. Nearly all of the state roads in our City were repaved during his tenure along with many other improvements. Follow the process, make them do their jobs just as your councilmen make me do my job.

Your statement about not knowing your councilman’s phone number is bogus, pure garbage. In your case, you know your councilman, have his phone number and know where he lives, so don’t pull that whining dribble with me. And if anyone else doesn’t know their councilman or their phone numbers all they have to do is call the city building and the information will be provided.

And for you Mr. Zielinsky, if you have any further City issues you are more than welcome to come to the city building and address your concerns directly with me. I look forward to it.

(DiBartolomeo is city manager for the City of Weirton)