In what is no shock to anyone who has paid attention to the facts since the beginning, the State House News Service is reporting that it’s now becoming apparent that the Civilian Flagger program touted as a cost-saving measure is actually costing more money.
Featured in the Boston Herald yesterday, the news service reports:
“In effect, the taxpayer is being asked to pay more to be less safe,” Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin told the Legislature’s Transportation Committee as he testified in favor of city-sponsored legislation to require police details on heavily-traveled Hub roads such as Dorchester Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue and American Legion Highway.
Tinlin said flaggers on nine projects in the city had submitted hourly rates averaging $45.82, with some bids exceeding $60 an hour, when police could handle the details for between $33 and $37 per hour.
Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association Thomas Nee called it an “embarrassment” to pay civilian flaggers $20 an hour more than police to work details.
The Patrick administration did not testify at the hearing where flagger rules came under assault, but state highway administrator Luisa Paiewonsky told the news service that flagger rules had saved the state $10 million to date and have not resulted in any accidents or injuries over 18 months.
“We don’t take a backseat to anyone when it comes to safety,” said Paiewonsky, adding that 60 percent of public works projects this spring will rely on civilian flaggers.
Sen. Steven A. Baddour (D-Methuen), chairman of the Transportation Committee, urged the Patrick administration to act to bring costs under control.
This is “exactly what we did not want to happen,” Baddour said.“It was the intent of the Legislature to save money.” Baddour suggested that the state classifying flaggers as crossing guards would help save money.”
To say that the intent of the legislation was to save money is the equivalent of hearing that the Yankees let Johnny Damon go because they couldn’t afford him. Please, don’t insult our intelligence. What may have been one group of legislators “intent” was clearly not universally shared by others.
Attorney Ronald A. Sellon