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Cook County's "pothole vacation" over

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

A short-lived plan that took Cook County road crews off the road one out of every 10 workdays is over after the county's chief administrative officer said there wasn't enough evidence the program saved enough fuel to make sense.

Cook County Highway Superintendent Rupert Graham had taken all but emergency work crews off the roads one day every two weeks in an effort to save gas, he said. On that "pothole vacation" day, as critics dubbed it, work crews were allegedly put to work doing routine maintenance duties, such as lubricating machinery, sharpening saw blades and filling sand bags.

Critics, such as Cook County Commissioner Peter Silvestri, an Elmwood Park Republican, said the program amounted to paying road workers not to work on the roads.

Monday, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Mark Kilgallon issued a report that found a "minimal amount of savings" from the program and recommended its termination. Graham told reporters he was ending the program, not because he didn't think it was worthwhile, but because the nature of the alternative work being done "wasn't in documentable form."



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