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Pothole, Streetlight Repairs Lag, City Report Shows

By Ted Cox | January 6, 2014 10:58am
 Inspector General Joseph Ferguson found a quarter of the city's pothole repairs took longer than seven days.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson found a quarter of the city's pothole repairs took longer than seven days.
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CITY HALL — A new inspector general's report has found that the Department of Transportation failed to meet its own guidelines for pothole and streetlight repairs about a quarter of the time.

The report, released Monday and found on the website of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, determined that for the three years from 2010 through 2012, the city did not repair potholes reported to 311 within seven days 26 percent of the time, and did not repair reported streetlight outages within four days 24 percent of the time.

The report, however, found that city crews regularly met goals for repairing pavement cave-ins and replacing traffic lights and missing stop signs, and credited the transportation department with moving to address slow action on potholes and streetlights.

According to the report, the city also posted inaccurate or incomplete data on its own Service Delivery Metrics website and on the city Data Portal, with more than half of all service requests unreported. That served to make the department's performance on potholes and streetlights "appear better than they truly were."

But again the report credited the department with moving to address those flaws.

"While our audit identified performance and reporting issues that warrant corrective action, we were very glad to find CDOT engaged in pro-active and meaningful self-measurement, something we have found lacking in many other city departments," Ferguson said in a statement accompanying the report's release. "Nevertheless, inaccurate or incomplete reporting of performance data, as found here, may undermine the very public confidence and trust that transparency mechanisms intend to foster."

Ferguson went on to say he was "encouraged by CDOT’s responsiveness."

According to the report, the department "concurs with this recommendation, and will work ... to ensure as much information as possible about service requests and completion times are available to the public."

The department sets a goal of meeting its own deadlines 90 percent of the time. According to the report, it replaced missing stop signs within one day about than 99 percent of the time and repaired traffic lights within one day about 95 percent of the time. Pavement cave-ins were repaired within three days about 95 percent of the time.

Yet the department failed to repair potholes within a week more than 25 percent of the time for all three years, and only just got to repairing streetlights within four days 75 percent of the time in the third year after failing to meet even that standard the first two years.

The transportation department has already worked with the Office of Budget and Management to "address staffing concerns," Feguson's report said.