privacy violations; bad behavior; subcontractors
The following, in part, was sent to my City Council, Mayor, and Zoning Officers, along with regional managers for Star Construction, an AT&T subcontractor. **WE ARE NOT AT&T CUSTOMERS**
On Thursday, September 8, I discovered industrial equipment on my lawn in Centerville, OH. I had no idea whose it was or what it was doing there. A man a block away walked over to explain, although he could speak no English. I tried to explain that he needed to at least ask permission to do this. I spoke briefly with Sande Heck on the phone about this and then, at his encouragement, I left messages with two members of the City Engineer's office, Taylor and David. This, however, is not my primary concern, but rather what follows.
When I arrived home for lunch at noon, I discovered four men in my backyard -- a backyard that has an 8-foot high privacy fence whose gate was locked. My wife was home but no one had the most basic courtesy of asking, could they enter the backyard. None of these men could speak English. I had no idea who they were or for whom they worked. They put me on the phone with someone else who told me about an easement and I could complain to ATT. At this point I handed the phone back to the worker and called Centerville Police. Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) from Star Construction arrived to explain, and shortly thereafter an officer from Centerville PD.
1. To our knowledge, we received no notice that workers needed access to our enclosed property; no call, no letter.
2. The workers did not knock or ring the bell. They did not ask permission -- or even give notice.
3. It turns out that, instead of even attempting to knock, and certainly without notice and certainly without permission, these workers somehow reached over the 8-foot gate and unlocked it, and let themselves in. How is this not a violation of privacy?
4. Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) explained that when these workers do knock / ring the doorbell, many people shew them away because they cannot speak English. I told her -- and I want to underline --- while I have sympathy, that is no excuse. The burden of communication is not on a private home owner. If Star Construction intends to send workers who cannot communicate (or in this case, will not even attempt to communicate), then Star Construction ought to send someone who can spend at least 2 minutes speaking to a home-owner. At the very least Star Construction could equip such workers with a piece of paper to explain or a door hanger or anything.
5. Even now I have nothing which outlines the work to be done, the time frame, the easement right --- other than what Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) told me verbally.
6. When Officer Sears asked Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) what is the normal pattern if they were to knock / ring the bell ( which they didn't do) and no one is home? Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) said they are to leave a door-hanger and come back. Again, there was no knock; there was no door-hanger; they just reached over and unlocked the gate (on an 8-foot privacy fence) and let themselves in. No attempt to notify; no attempt to communicate.
7. I also voiced a range of safety and insurance concerns both for my family and for the workers themselves in this scenario in which, without notice and without even my knowledge, workers are violating locked fences to access enclosed backyards.
8. Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) was gracious and courteous -- but her courteous conversation was after the actions and inactions outlined above.
9. I understood, at that point, that there is an easement and the workers resumed their work. But I was clear with Ashley (Edited per community guidelines) (in the hearing of Officer Sears), that the behaviors outlined above are egregious and cannot go unanswered.
10. Let me also add (with some irony), we are not AT&T customers. It's my understanding that Star Construction is a subcontractor for some projects for AT&T.
11. I have heard from City Officials that they are concerned about this behavior. I have no however heard from anyone from Star Construction.
This behavior on the part of Star Construction -- and by extension, AT&T -- is grotesque. My entire neighborhood is now aware as our civic leader in our community.