Story Archive

Pothole Diplomacy

Residents of most cities get upset that fixing streets takes too long. Not in Davenport, Iowa: that city has been fixing the streets so fast they’ve been asked to “consider restricting the asphalt program” by a Kansas City, Kan., lawyer. The attorney accuses Davenport of violating state law, which requires cities to bid out street work to private firms for jobs costing in excess of $72,000, and attorney Robert J. Henry threatens, “my clients are considering activity to draw the public’s attention to this matter” — to tattle to taxpayers. “Restraint between now and our meeting date would render such action unnecessary,” Henry wrote. Instead, the city went public itself, noting that between new, efficient road machinery and the lack of need to make a profit on the work, costs haven’t exceeded $72,000 on any job. “In my opinion,” said street maintenance engineer Eric Longlett, “as long as the city can do the work at a cheaper rate and comply with the regulations that are set, that’s better for taxpayers.” Henry’s clients have outed themselves, too: Laborers’ Union Local 309, based in Illinois. They are still threatening to sue the city. (RC/Quad City Times) ...And unions wonder why they’re not popular with the public anymore.
Original Publication Date: 23 August 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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