May 6, 2011

Sleepy Public Construction Methods

Justin Katz

I've had occasion to drive through the construction site of the new Sakonnet River Bridge in Tiverton quite a bit, lately, and no matter how many times I see it, I never fail to be impressed with the structural inefficiency of the work habits. The other day, I saw three employees gabbing over two who were doing masonry work while two stood nearby to direct traffic in those infrequent instances when a construction vehicle had to cross the sparsely traveled back road and a police officer sat in his car. One wonders if that's where WPRI reporter Tim White's latest catch got the idea that it'd be just fine to sit in his car to eat, read, and sleep for three or more hours per day:

That dozing fellow is Department of Transportation engineering technician Kevin Coulombe, who is responsible for inspecting road and bridge materials. White notes that Coulombe oversaw the Barrington Bridge project "which was $11 Million over budget and took twice as long as expected."

According to Transparency Train, Coulombe's 2008 salary was $50,712, so clearly he's no Stephen Iannazzi. Perhaps if he actually works his full six hour day (or whatever it is) he can reach that high level of extreme competence.

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I seem to remember that some of the cost overruns on the 195 project were because some of the materials used were either incorrectly inspected or not inspected at all. Contractors used concrete that was mixed too thin and had to remove it all and re-do it, sometimes at a cost to the state.

I wonder if there are more of this guy or he had a hand in that as well.

Posted by: Patrick at May 6, 2011 12:15 PM

Think hard about whether you have any extended family in RI state government and perhaps you too can enjoy such leisure on the public dime.

Posted by: Dan at May 6, 2011 1:24 PM

I just don't understand why public employees get such a bad rap.

Posted by: Mike Cappelli at May 6, 2011 2:10 PM

Tim White sure is eating channel 10's lunch on this stuff. Remember when Taricani and Rappleye would get these stories? What happened?

These are like shooting fish in a barrel for White and Hummel.

Posted by: Patrick at May 6, 2011 2:37 PM

Just heard he was removed from the job, with pay. And that penalizes him how? Instead of working 3-4 hours a day for $50,712/yr, now he can sleep all day.

Posted by: riborn at May 6, 2011 7:55 PM
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