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Mayor Relents, Full Plowing Returns

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jan 7, 2009 8:15PM

2008_01_07_plow.jpg Swamped by citizen complaints, cranky aldermen, and a whole lot of snow, Mayor Daley has finally relented and put the city back on its regular snow plow plan. His controversial plan to cut back on side street plowing and avoid overtime pay proved quite unpopular as it made driving hazardous and dangerous all over the city.

"Unfortunately, it didn't work out very well," Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Michael Picardi told aldermen at a Tuesday hearing on the subject. "Now that we are in the extreme winter months of January and February, we know that we are going to have to plow and spread salt as we always have and as we did last year. So, we should expect then a significant increase in service on side streets in future snows."
Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) told Picardi, "The calls I've been getting have not been nice, and the language they have been using has not been nice. The residents of Chicago expect the streets to be salted, and when they are not salted, they can cost an election. And you are starting to get back into the groove, and that's what we want to see." The cutback was an effort to save money on overtime as snowy winters the past few years cost the city $30 million in 2007 and $33.7 million in 2008 (including $8 million just in December). Ald. Tom Allen (36th) one of the most vocal critics of Daley's plan, said, "This was public safety, and we screwed up bad. I'm not criticizing the attempt to make a change, but the attempt was a big flop, and now we are back to reality."