When the snow piled up last Wednesday in a storm that even the dumbest weather personality on tv could predict well ahead of time, the state, most big companies and many small ones simply closed up for the day.
After all, Gov. Dannel Malloy asked people to stay off the roads, saying it wasn't safe out there.
Of course, some people have to work. They perform the critical functions we all need to get through the storm safe and sound.
But most don't.
In our region of the state, nearly every municipality shut down for the day except for essential services such as snow plowing, fire and police.
But Bristol opened its door anyway.
At City Hall, by all accounts, the only people there were a smattering of enraged employees snarling that they shouldn't have been forced to come to work -- particularly when the public they serve wasn't about to brave the weather to come get a building permit, pay a tax bill, register to vote or anything else.
The libraries, thinly staffed, open to nobody. The senior center was silent, but open.
City workers were told they didn't have to come in if they couldn't, but staying home would cost them a vacation day (or, in the case of new workers, they could just go without pay for the day). So those who could make it, did.
But it's hard to say why.
They put their own safety at risk -- and they put others in danger, too, because every vehicle or pedestrian on the road that day contributed to the problem.
So why were they called in when most cities and towns told workers to stay home?
Because some Bristol workers who have to put in time during a storm get automatic overtime if City Hall closes. And that would cost a few extra bucks.
I can't say whether taxpayers would mind shelling out the extra money to keep Bristol's government workers safe, but I do know that it's crazy to insist people show up at work when there's little work to do and the governor himself is telling everyone to stay home for the good of the state.
This isn't how government should run.
UPDATE: The police contract, at least, does not require overtime for police if City Hall is closed because of the weather, according to the police union and others.
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