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OT For Plow Drivers As City Can't Sell Off Service

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 12, 2009 9:45PM

2009_11_12_plow.jpg For once, the City of Chicago failed to find a taker in a bid to privatize a city service and, as a result will be paying overtime to plow drivers this coming winter. We've already heard promises of preparation but this new call came from Mayor Daley himself at a press conference earlier today. Still smarting from last year's attempt to cut costs by skimping on side-street plowing and scaling back on overtime pay, Daley promised the streets would cleared efficiently this coming winter: "You have to do an effective job on the major streets and get to the side streets as fast as possible."

The Trib continues:

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Thomas Byrne said the department will utilize cameras monitoring city streets to make sure drivers are doing an efficient job. Sensors on the trucks will determine how much salt each vehicle is spreading per block, and whether the plow blades are up or down. That will free up supervisors, who don't get overtime, to work on the streets, Byrne said.

"Our snow clearing plan is essentially the same as it has always been," Byrne said. "We focus on keeping the main streets and Lake Shore Drive clear, then once the storm subsides, we will move into the side streets."

Byrne stressed a take-it-as-it-comes approach, adding, "The sooner we can get trucks off the arterials into the side streets, we'll do that as immediately as we can. We can also look at trying to pull some trucks off the mains and get them into the side streets as we're still doing the mains, depending on the severity of the storm." This winter will be the first for new Streets & San head Byrne, who was appointed to the post by Daley this summer. What also remains to be seen is how this summer's layoffs of over 300 Streets & San workers will affect the city's plan. In the meantime, all we can do is wait and see how much snow will fall, though if some of the predictions, such as the one from our friend Amy Freeze, pan out, Mayor Daley (and the rest of us) may luck out with a winter with less snow than the last couple of years.