, Gloucester, MA

August 16, 2013

Letter: Don't be misled about 'Clean Team' works

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Many of you who religiously read the Gloucester Daily Times every morning may remember Monday’s column by Gordon Baird (“Fishtown Local,” the Times, Aug. 12) about the Cape Anne YMCA’s Clean Team.

I’m a first year employee of the Clean Team, and can say that Mr. Baird’s views of the Clean Team are not 100 percent accurate.

When I first started working at the Clean Team, I had no idea of what to expect as a first year to the program. I was very nervous that I might do something wrong or mess up on the first day and set my career off with a bad experience.

Once on the job for a week, I soon found myself part of a team full of wonderful people who did not care who you were or where you came from, what mattered was the respect you gave and thus the respect you got.

Mr. Baird’s column raised several good points to the program, but not all that accurate. From reading the comments on the online version of the Times, I can see that I’m not the only one who is upset over this.

Let me discuss Mr. Baird’s point of not picking up the cigarette butts. We have all seen the hundreds of cigarette butts that line the curb of Gloucester’s streets; you could rake your hand a down the curb and come up with 20-plus.

But it would be unsanitary for anyone to pick up these disease carrying objects. By picking up these butts, it increases our risk of sickness immensely even with the protection of gloves, and it’s not a job that the Clean Team does.

The best solution problem is for the people who threw their butts out the window (you know who you are) to use one of the many useful features of the modern vehicle, the ashtray — but that is an issue for another day.

Mr. Baird also stated that we use to have a system of two workers for each street. This system was used back in 2000, when we had about 12 kids working. In case you forgot, Mr. Baird, the year is now 2013 and we have a lot more workers now — around 20 per shift. And it’s unsafe to spread out 20 kids on a street with all of Gloucester’s erratic drivers speeding by.

As far as workers not working and socializing, yes, there are the few that do just as Mr. Baird described, but they don’t do it for long.

If we see a worker standing around socializing, then we give verbal warning. If the individual does not return to work, then we relieve him/her of duty for the day and take the shift away for a repeated offense.

From one citizen to another, I ask that you do not judge us based on one person who did not get all the facts straight, and instead take the information right from the “horse’s mouth.”

The Clean Team will move on from this and we will continue to keep the streets of Gloucester clean.