Audit: ATL inspection records shoddy for utilities’ road repairs
By JIM WALLS
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.