Does a Government Agency Have To Do a Good Job?

(WSVN) - The city had to tear up his driveway to replace a sewer line, and when they repaired it, they did not do a good job. Do they, or their contractor, have to restore it to the way it was? Also, what can be done if a restaurant lets an employee keep working when they have COVID-19? The answers to those questions and more in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It’s hard to find a truly unusual house in South Florida, but Andrew Wright did.

Andrew Wright, driveway damaged: “Probably some of the few houses that have basements in South Florida, and it’s a finished basement. We have a little room down there.”

It’s a 1942 Fort Lauderdale classic built with pride and craftsmanship.

Andrew Wright: “Even the people that did the inspection said ‘Whoever did this really, really put it together very well.'”

Andrew takes great care of the house, the landscaping, even the driveway, and then, the city needed to tear out part of his driveway to put in a new sewer line.

Andrew Wright: “It’s great that the pipes are not going to come up and explode in our area of the house. That’s a positive.”

And now, for the negative, that once nice driveway…

Andrew Wright: “The pavers have just sort of been thrown on top of whatever area they could find.”

Thrown might not be an exaggeration. There are gaps where the pavers should be tightly together.

Broken pieces were slapped down, and others were not packed down.

Andrew Wright: “It’s gonna crack and what do I replace them with? I don’t have them anymore.”

The estimate to repair the driveway is $8,000, and since Andrew didn’t create the mess, he asked Fort Lauderdale to take care of it.

Andrew Wright: “They said ‘Oh, we’re looking into it. We’ll get back to you,’ and that was probably three to four weeks ago, maybe. I’ve heard nothing since.”

Well, does the city or their contractor have to restore the driveway to the way it was, Mr. Finkelstein?

Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “Yes, return it to the way it was or better, and even though the contractor made the mistake, it’s the city’s job to make sure it’s done.”

A viewer says he works at a restaurant where an employee who prepares food in the kitchen has tested positive for COVID, but the boss lets him keep working because he says he feels fine. I assume that’s not OK.

Howard Finkelstein: “This violates every federal state and local order that I can think of. Contact code enforcement, which can fine the restaurant and, in some cases, have the police arrest the owner, and notify the state division of hotels and restaurants. They can shut the restaurant down.”

Broward County is requiring kids who are learning online to turn their cameras on, so the teachers can see them. Some parents have told us it’s their home, and they don’t want the camera on. Can the school district require it?

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes, if you want to learn, you have to play by their rules, and if you are worried about your privacy, position the camera so only the student can be seen.”

Andrew Wright: “It’s pretty well fixed right now. They got it all back.”

Give Fort Lauderdale credit. After we contacted them, they quickly had Andrew’s driveway re-done the right way.

Andrew Wright: “Help Me Howard, thank you very much for coming and taking care of this. I thought I was going to have to come up with a lot of money to fix this.”

Most government employees want to do the right thing. You just have to find the one who has the authority to get it done, and whether it’s a government agency or a business, over the years, we have figured out how to find those people.

And if you have a problem you can’t resolve, a question you want answered, get in touch with us. We would love to help you out.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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