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Audit: Tulsa streets won't improve without different approaches

Audit: Tulsa streets won't improve without different approaches




by: P.J. LASSEK Tulsa World Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 03, 2009
11/3/2009 5:56:50 PM

 

Documents View a PDF of the 52-page power-point presentation on the final report of an audit of the Public Works Department’s street maintenance and engineering divisions.

City streets will not improve unless the Public Works Department, mayor and City Council “drastically change their approach,” the findings of a commissioned audit show.

Councilors on Tuesday heard portions of a 52-page power-point presentation on the final report of an audit of the Public Works Department’s street maintenance and engineering divisions.

Members of EMA Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., the firm contracted to do the audit, told councilors during a committee meeting that the city has not adequately funded street maintenance.

The audit states that long-term maintenance is provided by voter-approved funding, however, “this five-year funding is not adequate to meet Pavement Condition Index targets.”

Although the voter-approved “Fix Our Streets” program is well-done and well-documented, “it is the default street maintenance program.”

The audit also talks about resistance to change and the need to implement numerous recommendations, ranging from new technology to leadership training.

Mayor Kathy Taylor said after the meeting that the audit is “a great road map and tool for us to do better.”

Councilor Bill Martinson said he isn’t surprised with the audit’s findings, many of which he has talked about for quite some time.

“While I agree there is always room for improvement,” he said, “what I do know is that Public Work has a plan and knows what needs to be done, but until there is funding, we’ll still have problems with the streets.”

EMA was commissioned by the city as a result of the $452 million streets initiative that voters approved in November. Elected officials wanted the audit completed before work went too far on the Fix our Streets package.

EMA’s contract was not to exceed $240,000, plus expenses, and was funded through savings realized by lower-than-projected fuel expenses.

Throughout, the report specifically names the Public Works Department and then refers to “city leadership” or “leadership.”

After the meeting when the Tulsa World asked who the “leadership” was, EMA’s Judith Cascio said “the mayor and council.”

When asked why the report didn’t state that, EMA’s Brian Hurding said “we wanted that vague.”

Read more in Wednesday’s Tulsa World about the rest of the audit findings.


Associate Images:

Image

In this 2008 file photo, road construction on Sheridan Road near the Broken Arrow Expressway funnels traffic in to just two lanes. Tulsa World File


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