What is old is new again! Not good for New Hampshire this time.
Enter newly appointed Dept of Transportation Commissioner Charles O’Leary onto the lead paint “scandal” scene. (Charles O’Leary, former NHDOT Commissioner 1990-1996.)
A brief summary of what we the public are allowed to know at this time:
Our brave and resourceful DOT state employees of the bridge department start dumping tons of lead paint chips into various foundations and floors of their own buildings/turf beginning in 1980 – or so the news reports say.
In 19 and 96 we have an “anonymous complaint” made to the state regarding these goings on and state investigators started digging where there wasn’t any paint, kind of an anonymous investigation into an anonymous complaint. This was apparently carried out in front of a DOT supervisor who knowingly let the investigators dig in the wrong place. (We have all heard of “Protect and Serve” but “Protect the Hive” is the DOT motto.)
So acting as though DOT property in Franklin is a giant kitty litter pan for lead paint DOT employees kept up their good work hiding lead paint chips UNTIL:
Commissioner Carol Murray (remember – the one Lynch bullied out of the job) started an investigation into a different issue when the ongoing, disappearing lead paint problem, popped up unexpectedly. Once it was discovered/uncovered it was promptly handed to the AG, as it should have been in any real world situation.
Flash forward to June 2007 and the publicity surrounding the secret burial of lead paint under DOT buildings. We have a new old sheriff in town in the person of new again NHDOT Commissioner Charles O’Leary. He is quoted in various news reports as being ready to handle the whole issue and make the DOT a good neighbor.
That would be a break with tradition for the DOT bridge division and Charles O’Leary from what I know.
Back in 1996 when investigators where looking for illegally buried lead paint while a DOT supervisor hid the location, Charles O’Leary WAS the Commissioner of the DOT. So it looks like some of this cover-up occurred on his former watch! Surprise.
And now our hero, Commissioner O’Leary, is going to clean up the mess.
Don’t make me laugh. I dealt with Commissioner O’Leary in 1991, back when he was the NHDOT commissioner the first time around.
I caught one of his bridge division engineers using the NHDOT auto-cad system to design a bridge for an independent contractor who ripped off my town by using cheap materials and faulty construction.
Was NHDOT Commissioner O’Leary a big help then when I went there for help? No, quite the opposite.
How about O’Leary’s assistant at DOT Leon Kenison? When I came into DOT headquarters and showed him the auto-cad plans and the bridge design calculations on DOT letterhead graph paper all I got was a bunch of lies and foot dragging.
Did they care that their bridge guy moonlighted with DOT equipment and designed a bridge that was sagging in the middle or was backfilled with sand or that the specified oil pressure treatment on the wood was simply a water-based treatment? How about the stress specs on the bolts that held the bridge together not being up to specs? No help there. Same with the lack of anchor bolts to hold the sagging bridge down.
Did the NHDOT step up for public safety?
No way! I had to expose the deal in the local papers by myself with no hint of help from the NHDOT. My complaint wasn't anonymous by the way. I had tons of evidence in the form of pressure treatment certificates, lumber grade documents, photos, plans, etc.
O’Leary cleaning up the paint chips buried and hidden during his last term as commissioner is the biggest joke I can think of. Next to maybe Franklin State Rep. Jim Ryan holding “hearings” on the scandal.
Go ahead and go through the motions Rep. Ryan, make it look good for the willing press.
That would be the same NH pulp media that failed to mention in any story I have seen yet that O’Leary was in charge when some of this lead paint chip scandal happened.
Hey, maybe they can blame it on former Governor Benson.
We are all waiting to see where the photo-op governor stands on paint chips.