New York – There was a method to their madness.
The selfish Sanitation bosses who sabotaged the blizzard cleanup to fire a salvo at City Hall targeted politically connected and well-heeled neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn to get their twisted message across loud and clear, The Post has learned.
Their motives emerged yesterday as the city’s Department of Investigation admitted it began a probe earlier this week after hearing rumblings of a coordinated job action.
Sources told The Post several neighborhoods were on the workers’ hit list — including Borough Park and Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Middle Village in Queens — because residents there have more money and their politicians carry big sticks.
“It was more targeted than people actually think,” said a labor source. “Borough Park was specifically targeted [because of] . . . its ability to sort of gin up the p.r. machine.”
The plan worked. Residents of those neighborhoods — who, after three days, were still trying to dig out their cars — are apoplectic.
“It’s hurting people for greed,” seethed Barry Coogan, 60, who lives on 64th Road in Middle Village. “Whoever made those decisions should lose their jobs.
“Don’t hurt the neighborhood so you can’t get medical help.”
In Brooklyn, Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind called the clean-up “an absolute disaster.”
“You have the most unbelievable anger I’ve ever seen,” he said of his Borough Park constituents.
The revelation came as:
* A Queens baby was brain dead last night after poorly plowed roads hampered efforts to rescue him.
* Sources said Sanitation bosses issued verbal directives during the clean-up to give priority to streets near the homes of agency heads and other city bigwigs. “This happens all the time,” one Sanit worker said. “They make sure the bosses and politicians get taken care of.”
* Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s insistence that all roads would be plowed at least once by yesterday morning, many were untouched, with snow still piled high. “We still have work to do,” Bloomberg later said.
* Even as streets in the outer boroughs waited for a single plow to arrive, crews were clearing bicycle lanes on the Upper West Side. Bloomberg, however, insisted that was not happening.
Across the city, residents still confined to their homes by the storm’s after-effects had plenty of blame both for Bloomberg and the rogue Sanitation workers.
Moshe Pollack, 55, of Borough Park, said, “It’s disgusting. And we pay them overtime for this? People could have died.”
John Delliliune, 42, of Penelope Avenue in Middle Village said he was “very disappointed” but “not surprised.”
“I saw plows driving around with their shovels up,” he fumed, adding, “I would like to see some disciplinary action to whoever made the call.”
Hikind said his phone had been ringing off the hook.
“I just know that something went wrong, and God is not to blame,” he said.
Hikind said he had been told months ago that Sanitation Department unions were planning some sort of slowdown or job action to protest budget cuts.
Chaya Schron, who lives in Midwood, Brooklyn, said she didn’t hear any plows passing by her bedroom window Sunday night or Monday morning.
“I suspected a slowdown from the very beginning. It didn’t make sense,” she said.
On Monday, she saw a plow drive down her street with its blade up.
“When we asked why his plow was up, he said he had instructions not to plow side streets because it wastes gas,” she said. “I was in disbelief.”
Gov. Paterson yesterday morning called for a criminal investigation, and Bloomberg said such a job action would be an “outrage.”
A DOI spokeswoman told The Post her agency has been probing the actions of plow drivers and supervisors all week, trying to determine “whether there was intentional misconduct in connection with snow removal. We are in the throes of that.”
The slowdown was confirmed Wednesday by City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who met with a group of guilt-stricken plow drivers and supervisors who dropped a dime on their colleagues.
Yesterday, Halloran provided The Post with two videos showing a plow driver in Queens driving his truck on a snow-covered road without plowing it.
The snitches said they were told to leave many roads unplowed and skip streets that were not on their routes.
The hostility stems from a series of labor and budget cuts that are culminating today with demotions — and resulting salary declines — for 100 supervisors.
The president of the sanitation supervisors union continued to deny any subversion.
And Harry Nespoli, president of the union that represents the Sanitation Department’s rank and file, also denied a slowdown and welcomed all investigations. He admitted, though, that some plow drivers could be slowing down on their own.
“Look, individually, if you walk around, you’re going to see a truck doing something [wrong]? Yeah,” Nespoli said. “You’re going to have people that are annoyed.”
Not as annoyed as the people whose streets were left buried.
“It makes my blood boil. Those people should be reprimanded,” said Marlon Singh, 33, who lives on 94th Street in Middle Village.
“They made us feel like we live in a Third World country.”