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Audit: ATL inspection records shoddy for utilities’ road repairs



Y’know those nasty metal plates in the road that can mangle your tires and mess up your front-end alignment? Atlanta’s auditor says city workers often don’t inspect them and wouldn’t even know who’s responsible for fixing them.

A team of 11 inspectors and supervisors in the city’s Department of Public Works enforces rules for utilities that make street cuts in public rights of way. Contractors are required to remove metal plates within five days of completing their work and to repair the road within 21 days; they must guarantee the work for a year.

Ex-Mayor Shirley Franklin made street cuts a city priority when she formed her “Pothole Posse” in 2002.

Key findings of a performance audit released Monday shows Public Works:

  • Rarely visits sites to check contractors while the work is in progress;
  • Inspects sites before a job begins and after it’s completed, but doesn’t keep records or notes of its findings;
  • Couldn’t produce permits for any of a random sample of 26 work sites that auditors requested;
  • Frequently couldn’t tell who was responsible for repairs after the fact;
  • Doesn’t require permits or inspections for work done in-house by the city’s water department; and
  • Doesn’t enforce requirements that contractors carry insurance or post performance bonds for their work. The city’s public works, law and risk management staffs all said somebody else was supposed to manage the bonds.

The sloppy record-keeping and enforcement makes it tough to collect for the cost of making necessary repairs if restoration work is substandard, the audit said. The city in FY2010 paid $218,000 in claims related to right-of-way activity.





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3 Responses to “Audit: ATL inspection records shoddy for utilities’ road repairs”

  1. SpaceyG on Twitter says:

    Stephanie Ramage, the city’s new community liaison, has been VERY responsive to this issue of infrastructure, FYI. They’re (some City Hall staff) are trying stuff at least to get better at infrastructure. It’s not as if it’s Mayor Reed’s, er, area of interest either, but Ramage has made it her mission… with just two weeks on this new job/post.

  2. Neal Smith says:

    It is not surprising that utility road repair not only does inferior work, and is largely unsupervised. It is also not surprising that the contractors were paid to do poor work. The management of the city has been left to the incompetent and lazy. There is no sense of responsibility among the rank and file. For evidence of my claim just go to City Hall and try to get a building permit. If you can get someone to help you it is only because they are on break from talking on their cell phone, eating a variety of tasty delicacies, and socializing with their co-workers. Give me a break.

    We are told by SpaceyG in a previous comment that the city’s new community liaison is “very responsive to the issue of infrastructure.” I am delighted to hear that, but when it is the job of a community liaison (whatever that means) to be in charge of street repair? No wonder the city has enormous financial difficulties. So long as the lazy and incompetent are running the show and hiring the lazy and incompetent to do the job Atlanta will continue to be a city with a little show, but no substance.

  3. Lev Bronstein says:

    How does one know what Ramage is up to, Stacy? Other than random twitter posts on web sites, whihc are occasionally not accurate..

    It will be fine with me if she is able to do something like this, but how do you know it to be so? What is your source? Is it public or anecdotal?