Credit where credit is due.

Credit where credit is due.

Last week, on the street outside my home in Lower Mills, there appeared an indentation in the pavement. It’s been more than a decade since the street was repaved, and the heavy traffic has taken a toll on our residential street.

Any number of small fissures now appear all across the asphalt pavement; the surface which was quite smooth ten years ago now has multiple bumps and ripples, and it’s likely the heavy spring rain had a deleterious effect on roadways all over town.

Back to the little indent outside my front door: What was a small crease last week soon worsened, and by last Sunday had become a break in the pavement. As cars and truck inexorably made their unrelenting passage, a little bump soon became a big one, and then the surface was breached, chunks of asphalt vanished, and a gaping hole was revealed.

At first glance, it seemed that a sinkhole had grown there outside my front window; in reality, I had watched the beginnings of a pothole, and as vehicles one by one banged into the depression, the noise from the traffic threatened to become intolerable.

Then, on Monday at about 5 p.m., I reported the problem to the Mayor’s Hotline (617-635-4500,) a 24 hour phone line pledged to provide “constituent services.” A very polite man asked for my exact address, explaining he would key it into a GIS system. Within minutes, I received an email which read, “Your service request, opened on 5/3/10 at 5:07 PM, is case number 101000135225. Our Public Works Department will respond to most requests for pothole repairs within three business days.”

An hour later, a DPW truck pulled up, measured the problem and placed a bright orange reflective cone over the hole. That traffic cone warned off most drivers, but overnight someone came along and sent it flying. On Tuesday morning, it was found on its side in the gutter, 50 yards downfield. Retrieving it, I replaced it where it belonged and headed off to work.

On Tuesday night- less than 24 hours from the first report to City Hall- the DPW had arrived and cleared away the loose blacktop, making ready for a patch. That night, the showed up and patched the opening with fresh asphalt. Problem solved, in less than 40 hours, from the first citizen report of a problem, to a fix by a public works crew.

So here’s a thankful shout-out to these city workers- from the Hotline call center to the guys that get down and dirty fixing the streets. City workers, doing their jobs, with nary a notice. Good for you. Thanks guys.

- Ed Forry

The water emergency that engulfed the region last weekend is one more example of government workers doing their jobs well.
From Saturday afternoon, when word of the breached water supply became public, to Tuesday morning, when the needed repairs were made and clean water flow was restored, it was an example of inspired leadership and professional workmanship.

Governor Deval Patrick and the administration of the MWRA are especially deserving of public acknowledgment; working as a team, they responded swiftly and surely, and fixed the problem.
Today, perhaps we all should pause and observe that the cranks and naysayers who make their lives bitching about government have it all wrong. Public employees are asked to do their jobs efficiently and with integrity, in the interest in the common good of all citizens.

That’s exactly what happened in this short-lived “crisis.”

- E. F.