Request for information

Can anyone tell us if this is true?

When the city has construction work done for itself city inspectors do not check the work.

We deserve better

Brutus

8 Responses to Request for information

  1. Anonymous says:

    I worked in purchasing with the city. The answer is really depends who is paying for it. Any grant funds involved then the inspections must be done and recorded then included in any project documentation or city has to pay for it out of its pocket.

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  2. chucogeek says:

    As with most things at the city the actual answer is “it depends”

    First of all, are you talking about construction work done in house by City employees? Or are you talking about work that the City contracts out to private companies? Which department are you talking about? I’m a nerd that likes this stuff so I like digging through the contracts and agenda items that go before council and before the PSB and you’d be amazed at how much stuff is in there if you do some digging on a regular basis.

    Departments like Streets and Maintenance do actually try to have inspectors checking on the work that they contract out and they do try to have inspectors on staff who can check the quality of the work. Unfortunately they do have their hands somewhat tied because a lot of the contractors (especially ones like J.A.R.) are experts at fighting with the City and the City’s legal department is pathologically risk averse when it comes to standing up to them. Apparently they will fight for years about the arena stuff but if a contractor makes a fuss about how an inspector isn’t approving their work, City Legal will often roll over once a fight actually starts. That being said the inspectors at least do try to control the quality of the work done as much as they can.

    Capital Improvements on the other hand often does not have inspectors at construction sites. A lot of their contracts offload the responsibility for inspections onto a third party company who then is supposed to inspect the projects but there is such poor oversight that it’s doubtful how much actual inspecting actually happens. Judging by the construction sites I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure that no meaningful inspecting is going on.

    Unfortunately all of that is rolled up into some basic issues in how the City budgets for projects. The powers that be (from Tommy to the mayor to the reps) all talk about having departments do “more with less” but that often means that there aren’t enough inspectors with enough experience and that contracts are approved with the bare minimum (if that) of construction services from anyone. If you look at other cities, they will often contract construction services like inspections out to an engineering firm who is then legally on the hook if anything happens to the work they inspect (and approve) so they tend to be a lot pickier and more thorough about making sure they actually inspect things correctly. El Paso Water has been looking at doing more of that and they also tend to have inspectors checking their stuff more carefully but they also tend to operate separate from the City and since there are more regulations that deal with water and sewer services they are better able to come down on contractors who don’t do their work right. That’s not to say that nothing gets by them, but they do a better job of trying to minimize that.

    At the end of the day though, one of the biggest problems you’ll find with construction work at the City level is that we (as a city) are horrible at prioritizing things that we need vs things that we want. So you will see a lot of corners cut so that the City can say they are doing 25 streets instead of 15. Worse yet, a lot of the reps are hung up wanting every district to receive equal amounts of money even though some districts clearly need more basic things like sidewalks and curbs than others. That’s how you get people like former rep Lilly fighting to make sure that district 1 got hundreds of thousands of dollars in landscaping while other reps were spending their share on getting some of their streets up to a minimum standard.

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  3. Fed Up says:

    No surprise.

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  4. Rico Suave says:

    For example was the long “redo of the Plaza”… 😦

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  5. richwright728055425 says:

    I heard a rumor that the City is using substandard asphalt on its repaving jobs.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would agree based on rapid deterioration, but the other part of problem is that they are now simply dumping asphalt in potholes rather than doing a cut and repairing them properly. Repaired potholes do not even have an even surface and the asphalt that was just dumped in quickly comes loose.

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    • Anonymous says:

      When it comes to ANYTHING the Mayor, City Manager, Clown Council does for the PEOPLE, it’s always SUB-STANDARD. Always on the “Cheap”. The money “effort” THEY put into street “REPAIRS”, maintenance is just a major example. Apparently the lane, street “MARKING” paint THEY buy is “water soluble” and cost US about 50 cents a gallon. When the marking is done, whenever that is, it last about a week. When it rains on it, GONE. On a dark , rainy night there are NO lane markings. Can’t even see where they are, start, end. The stuff THEY buy on the CHEAP does not even GLOW in the dark, wet streets. MOST other cities, the lane markings, turn markings, pedestrian markings LIGHT UP the streets. THEY are responsible, to blame for so many traffic accidents in bad weather in El Taxo. THEY waste, spend, GIVE AWAY too many MILLIONS in taxpayer$$$$ on useless “stuff” THEY want or the idle rich of El Taxo want THEM to force US to pay for.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s probably true, because IF “Inspectors” actually checked work projects, they would find out how cheap, substandard, over paid the work was done. And of course that’s why 6 months, a year something like street projects are torn up and done OVER AGAIN. Higher costs, cost over-runs, double-triple pay for work and more of OUR money for pay-offs, kick backs. How many months, years does the highway 54 construction last??

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