Audit cites flag detail negatives

A new state audit has concluded that Gov. Deval Patrick's plan to use civilian flaggers instead of police officers at highway construction projects won't save as much money as predicted.

The report from Auditor Joseph DeNucci also concluded Patrick's plan could have a negative impact on public safety by removing up to 885 police officers a week from the extra street duty.

The administration had hoped the use of civilian flaggers on state-funded projects could save up to $7.2 million a year, but DeNucci said the top savings are probably closer to $5.6 million.

The report said most of those savings will come from replacing police with traffic control devices like barriers and traffic signals.

Only 11 percent of the savings will be from replacing police with civilian flaggers. Legislators had requested the audit. (AP)