Towing service owners and operators came out in force last week to implore county supervisors to improve their relationships with county departments. The rotation system has broken down, said Dennis Fields of Sun Towing in Oneida.
After appearing at the June 10 meeting of the Madison County Board of Supervisors, Chairman John M. Becker advised Fields to take his concerns to the next criminal justice/public safety committee meeting. Following that advice, Fields and representatives of about eight other automotive concerns were in attendance Friday.
Fields said a meeting was held several years ago to set up a rotation program with Madison County 911 and the Sheriff's Office.
Both agencies utilize the rotation list to assign towers to accidents and recoveries.
"Somewhere along the lines, we've lost communication with the 911 Center," Fields said. "We've e-mailed the sheriff and communications, and nobody seems to be very interested. We've been directed to call those two with complaints, but they don't return calls."
Chief complaints included specific customer requests, which bumps the tower out of rotation until the next time around, and the county dispatching tow calls to out-of-county services.
"We have current tow list," said committee Chairman Darrin P. Ball (R,C,I -- Lincoln).
Ball said after Fields asked to be on the committee's meeting agenda, some investigation by the County Attorney's Office found under General Municipal Law, the county could not discriminate against out-of-county businesses. He said convenience of location would protect local towers in some cases, but it was no guarantee they could be first choice.
Towers said their relationship with the sheriff's office was better because they were actually on the scene, but if there was problems with E-911 dispatch, there was no way to call them back to clarify information or to address problems.
One operator said the word had gotten out that "Madison County's an open book: Just go down and sign your name and you can tow."