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- Public Notices
The Los Alamos Monitor’s blazing headline on Sunday, September 30, “Councilor makes costly motion,” was about three County staffers each spending roughly five hours waiting for an agenda item delayed in a Council meeting.
Actually, most staffers anticipate that possibility and work on something else in an anteroom. The time can be at least partially productive.
A more important story would address how much time we have wasted sitting in traffic on Diamond Drive. Construction took five years, not the planned three. In most of those years, work extended weeks to months beyond what was scheduled. Traffic control plans appeared to have been developed in response to jams, not engineered in advance and then tweaked.
Delays of minutes to tens of minutes at a time, for hundreds to thousands of people a day, for months each year for four to five years (this year was not bad) add up.
Construction is disruptive. Maybe half the delays were unavoidable. But the other half still wasted tens of thousands of citizens’ hours, costly however they are valued. Businesses lost customers. Fuel and brake linings were needlessly converted to pollutants.
Perhaps the Council meeting could have been better handled. Councilors and staff upset at the minor inconvenience should be more concerned about the far, far greater costs (in dollars and disruption) to the people they work for when projects are poorly managed.
This has been a problem for many years, through multiple councils and administrators. (Remember Canyon Road in 1999-2000.) Council majorities have repeatedly refused to insist upon the performance citizens have a right to expect for these types of projects. The bar should be set higher for the new administrator.