‘Laissez-faire approach:’ Milwaukee DPW leaders accused of ‘lacking urgency’ regarding pothole problem

MILWAUKEE -- It's a dilemma every year: Potholes. Some Milwaukee Common Council members on Thursday, April 4 called out the Department of Public Works for lacking urgency and initiative.

Alderman Khalif Rainey

"I just replaced some tire rods, some control arms. That becomes quite expensive," said Alderman Khalif Rainey.

DPW officials said the problem was being handled.

"We're on top of it," said Samir Amin, city engineer.

Amin told the Milwaukee Common Council's Public Works Committee on Thursday that there were around 1,000 potholes waiting to be filled.

They can fill 250 potholes a day -- and the department was averaging a three-day response time -- good enough for the department, but not good enough for most members of the Public Works Committee.

Samir Amin

"I believe that they have a Laissez-faire approach on many matters related to quality of life issues for people in the central city of Milwaukee," said Alderman Rainey.

Alderman Rainey proposed ideas like creating a reserve workforce from retired city employees -- similar to what was done to help with snow removal.

While nothing was voted on Thursday -- Rainey said he hopes the ideas spark conversation.

"What I'm trying to do is encourage DPW to be more innovative in their approach to identifying these potholes, identifying these matters," said Rainey.

Potholes near 32nd & Villard, Milwaukee

That includes improving the communication system for people who call in to report potholes.

The city engineer pointed out Chicago has a more than 20-day response time to potholes. Indianapolis has a seven-day response time -- compared to Milwaukee's three-day average.

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