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The Billion Dollar Parking Ticket

• volume 1 • number 4

The aftermath of the Chicago flood is apparent. Initial estimates put costs to the city at over a billion dollars for clean-up and damage suits. The problem started when a bridge piling was driven into a tunnel under the Chicago River last fall. This winter it began to leak. City officials ignored the leak until it was too late. The piling should have been inspected last fall but the city employees responsible did not follow through because of "the difficulty in parking downtown." This bridge was one of five to be inspected, and the crew only inspected one.

This incident reminds me of the collapsed bridge on three lanes of interstate 95 over the Mianus River in Connecticut nine years ago when we were headquartered there. The bridge span was to be inspected by a state inspector who spent his mornings making token checks on some of the bridges and his afternoons in a bar.

When we hear these stories, questions naturally come to our mind about the qualities of those hired for responsible positions. How about qualities like being conscientious, attentive to detail, job commitment, etc? One also wonders about management and supervision laxity. When America worries about quality in the workplace it really is an issue of quality service as well as quality products!