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Big Brother is Watching...The Snow!

Bloomberg deploys an army of cameras to monitor today's response to the blizzard.

Roving video crews and GPS devices installed on 50 Brooklyn snowplows will allow the city to monitor today’s snowplowing efforts better than the disaster a week ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a City Hall address yesterday afternoon.

The GPS devices were installed following reports of an intentional slowdown by sanitation workers in response to contract disputes.

In the address, held at City Hall yesterday, the Mayor acknowledged that there were “problems” with last week’s cleanup.

But, he said, “We want to ensure all New Yorkers that we are doing everything in our power to make sure we don’t experience those kinds of problems again.

“We plan to do a great job, the kind of job that the public has come to expect us to do, and you will see that tomorrow,” he said at a news conference at City Hall yesterday afternoon.

The mayor said that the city has started “a comprehensive review of what went wrong and why” including close looks at the inability of 911 to handle the influx in calls as well following the independent investigation into the alleged slowdowns.

It's unlikely that Friday's relatively small snowstorm — roughly 3 inches are expected to fall — will lead to the same outcry over the city's response. By midday the streets remained clear, and several snowplows were seen spraying salt on main thoroughfares like DeKalb and Vanderbilt avenues.   

To help the city track cleanup progress this time around, the city installed GPS devices on 50 sanitation trucks in areas he said were hit hardest by last week’s storm.

The GPS devices will allow City Hall to track the progress of snowplows, and also allow sanitation workers to directly communicate with their supervisors if they spot a problem, Bloomberg said.

The mayor also said he would use the city’s “Scout Teams,” roaming video units usually used to pinpoint quality of life issues, to send live feed back to City Hall of street conditions.

“Whether those will be useful or not, I don’t know, but we are going to try it,” he said.

Bloomberg also noted that the EMS head has been replaced and that “some management and personnel changes” have been made at the Department of Sanitation’s Brooklyn division (although the sanitation changes don’t take effect until Monday).

“When something goes wrong, we stop everything, we find out why it went wrong – and we fix it,” he said.

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