Saturday, January 29, 2005

Innovation vs. Business As Usual - Chicago Style

It seems necessity has become the Mother of Invention in the Daley administration as the property tax limits have forced a cap on the number of payrollers (and especially their pension costs) and has gotten Mayor Daley’s attention! Today’s Chicago Sun-Times has an article (click above) detailing changes in the pothole repair crews.
“On any given day, between 12 and 15 crews are on the street, down from 18 last year. And the new alignment -- which slimmed crews from six- to four-man teams -- even has foremen, once charged with keeping an eye on quality control, wielding shovels…
'Two guys can get it done'...
"Workers only had one job to do. Now, they're part of a pothole repair group. Two guys hustling can get it done, and one guy can flag traffic," Chicago Transportation Commissioner Miguel d'Escoto said….
"We make our quotas, but we never finish everything there is to do every day," he said.”
Meanwhile it seems the dramatic difference in the cost estimates for the CTA’s Brown Line have hit the fan. Of course, CTA Board Chairwoman Carole Brown has come to a shaky conclusion..
“In a letter to the Federal Transit Administration outlining changes in the federally funded project's plan, Brown wrote: "CTA should have never promised such unaffordable station designs, and it should never have pledged to keep stations open."
She added: "It is unacceptable to have such wildly erroneous professional engineering estimates for such an important project."
Now Brown is calling for CTA Inspector General Alison Perona to investigate why the agency's original Brown Line overhaul cost estimates were ‘so dramatically wrong'."
Hate to spoil the illusion, but could it be the differences between the engineering cost estimates and the final bids are a result of a broken affirmative action plan?
My company was offered a chance to bid on the project, but could not meet the affirmative action requirements without using an illegal “front operation” despite the fact the product offered is manufactured in Texas with a manufacturing & management work force that has a huge Hispanic population as one would expect in Texas!
And of course, the two remaining genral contractors are both union shops, so there is no competition for labor prices!
Where are Jesse Jackson Sr. & Jr. when we need them!!!!


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