Possible shakeup at Streets and San?

May 19, 2009 3:34:46 PM PDT
A shakeup is expected at Chicago's Department of Streets And Sanitation. The overhaul could include the removal of the department's commissioner who oversees snow and garbage removal. It's unclear about how the changes will affect snow removal and garbage collection, but as many residents say, as along as their trash is picked up and their streets are clear, an overhaul is just fine.

In addition to replacing commissioner Michael Picardi, divisions within Streets and San are expected to be moved to another city department.

It was a brutal and expensive winter for the City of Chicago, and while it is thankfully behind us, controversy over snow removal lingers on. Mayor Daley is reportedly getting ready to shake up the Streets and Sanitation Department, including replacing commissioner Michael Picardi.

When asked about Picardi's ouster, this is how the mayor answered:

"Not really out, no, thank you," a laughing Mayor Daley said.

Picardi is reportedly headed back to his old job as commissioner of fleet management.

Picardi has been under fire ever since the city spent close to $500,000 on snow removal during a small first-of-the-season snow storm. As a result, a cost-cutting policy went into effect that halted the plowing of side streets during minor snow storms, and reduced overtime and the use of salt. That policy was reversed after Chicagoans and aldermen rebelled.

"The people of the City of Chicago made it very clear that they want their snow removed," said 29th Ward Ald. Ike Carothers in January.

Picardi also took heat for an inspector general report that came out two months before the season's first snow storm. Inspector General David Hoffman concluded that the city was wasting millions of dollars a year as garbage collection crews wasted time.

"The report talks about, in some instances, where crews would end their work 2-3 hours before their shift was over, and then be observed not dong any work during that period of time," Hoffman said last October.

"I want to send a clear message to all employees included in this: You should worry about your jobs," said Picardi in response to Hoffman's report.

It now appears it is Picardi who is out. The Streets and Sanitation commissioner would not return ABC7's phone calls Tuesday and the mayor would not talk about the expected changes as well.


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