By Seth Daniel
Wonder why potholes are living a little longer this spring?
Well, according to Don Goodwin, superintendent of the Department of Public Works (DPW), it’s because DPW equipment has been sabotaged – and maybe even by workers from within the department.
It’s a bumpy ride on Revere roads this spring, as potholes have taken over many streets and thoroughfares.
For the past several weeks, DPW officials and city councillors have been debating the use of two DPW asphalt hot boxes, pieces of equipment necessary to keep asphalt hot as crews fill potholes on the streets.
Goodwin made the surprising and fantastic allegations of sabotage Monday night at Councillor Jim Kimmerle’s DPW Committee meeting, while councillors discussed why both hot boxes weren’t in use.
When it came down to it, Goodwin said it was because of vandalism.
“Someone is sabotaging that hot box,” said Goodwin. “Why or who is doing it, we don’t know. Three times now, our mechanic has found the wires on that hot box were cut…The truck, no doubt, was vandalized. I can’t say if it was our guys or if it came from outside.”
When asked by Councillor Arthur Guinasso if he felt DPW workers were sabotaging the equipment, Goodwin replied he did.
“I feel that,” he said. “I can’t prove it. I’m not going to actually accuse anyone. I feel that way, though, and I’ve never felt that way before.”
He said, among other things, they have found coffee grounds and water in the hot box’s gas tank.
He said the Highway Department usually has two members, and they could be responsible. However, he added it could be someone else who is trying to make that department look bad.
“I have my issues with that department,” he said. “I’m not backing off saying things are wonderful because they’re not.”
He said there were a couple of “bad apples” in the DPW, but he couldn’t yet put his finger on who they are. He also said that they’re working to catch whoever is sabotaging the equipment, but, so far, none of the City Yard’s surveillance cameras have turned up any evidence.
Councillor Guinasso said he would support immediate termination if they catch the culprit and if it turns out to be a DPW worker.
“That’s unfortunate with the brotherhood, and we’re all in this together and trying to work to get a job done,” he said. “Once the person is caught, they should be terminated.”
Joe Lake, DPW shop steward, said the hot box has become a hot button issue.
“I won’t believe it is inside vandalism until someone shows me it is,” he said.