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August 15, 2013

Letter: Column an insult to YMCA Clean Team

To the editor:

In response to the column regarding the Cape Ann YMCA Clean Team (Fishtown Local, the Times, Monday, Aug. 12), it’s clear that Mr. Baird does not quite have his facts right.

I am a member of Clean Team and one of the captains, and after reading Mr. Baird’s column, I was not only offended, but every member of Clean Team was offended. Although we appreciate Mr. Baird’s concern and understand that, if what he was saying was true we would have a problem, but he is not correct on most accounts.

The residents of Gloucester aren’t entirely aware of what the Clean Team actually does on a daily basis.

Yes, we clean up trash and that is part of our job, but it is not the entire thing. Since we are funded by a government grant, we have to do what we are told by the city. We clean up trash, weed, and are responsible for watering and maintaining the $4,000 worth of plants hanging on Main Street and the Boulevard.

Often we get requests from higher authority, such as the mayor’s office, to complete special tasks, so we can’t constantly be attending to the trash on our streets.

Our job is based in the community, so our entire time on the job is spent in the public’s eye. This causes problems for us, because people see every aspect and minute of our daily activity including breaks and travel.

These are the times that we are most exposed to public scrutiny. We may be working hard for two hours and stop to take a five-minute break — and that is when people think that we are slacking and not doing our job. Also, people may see us walking to a destination assigned to us and take that as neglecting the trash on the streets. I am sure that, if a business office was set up openly in the middle of the community, people would find and nit-pick all the negative things they see happening.

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