Public Employee Press
Contracting out: struggles continue
Local finds signs of danger and waste at DOT
Vigilant Traffic Device Maintainers in Local 1455 are blowing the whistle on dangerous and poorly installed traffic signs that squander the taxpayers' money in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
"The Dept. of Transportation is wasting its funds on contractors who do lousy work and have no accountability," Local 1455 President Mike DeMarco said.
"If Local 1455 members did shoddy work like this, they could face disciplinary action," said Blue Collar Council Rep David Catala.
Under the rumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, DeMarco and TDM Ricky Rosa spotted signs of waste on a waterfront strip of Furman Street. Some of the traffic signs hang at angles that motorists can't see, others point drivers to park in illegal places, such as crosswalks or No Parking zones, and still others warn of two way traffic where there is none.
"Contractors are doing our work and doing it all wrong," DeMarco said. "Contracting out does not mean the job is done correctly or cheaper."
The low-hung and misleading signs endanger the public, and union members expect DOT to assign them to fix the costly mistakes.
On Manhattan's Third Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets, DeMarco saw that a contractor had installed eight rails bearing just one sign each. "Contractors get paid for every rail," he explained. "Here they installed unneeded rails, billing the city for every one and pocketing the profits." TDMs would have saved money by mounting the signs on lampposts or adding signs to existing rails.
He raised the issue with City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, and presented photographs as he testified March 11 at a City Council budget hearing. DeMarco plans to propose a money-saving solution to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan: Contract IN parking sign installation to Local 1455 members.
— Diane S. Williams