Cleveland City Hall is now responding to a FOX 8 I-Team hidden camera investigation that found pothole crews not filling potholes for long periods of time during their shifts. Some crews spent long stretches of time at maintenance yards.
Public Works Director Michael Cox said, "I know that they didn’t take a nap in that shop." We followed up asking how does he know that? And he answered, “But why are you thinking they do?"
This month, the I-Team followed pothole crews, finding one spent two hours at a maintenance yard. Another left a job site and didn’t start filling potholes again for nearly three hours. Another worked for 20 minutes and then spent an hour and ten minutes at a maintenance yard.
Cox said, “It was just a service changeover; you caught us in a changeover."
He explained what we saw was not what it seemed. He said on the days we watched crews the city didn’t have its full fleet of big trucks hauling asphalt to pothole crews.
So, those workers had to wait longer for supplies to fill the holes. Or, they had to go back to a maintenance yard and wait for asphalt to be made.
Cox adds, until days ago, the city still had trucks set aside to haul salt in case it snowed again.
The director said, "So we didn't have our trucks, all of our trucks in service at that time on that pothole program. These crews were doing what they could do in the situation.”
But the city could not explain away all that we saw. We asked about the crew we watched fill potholes off of West 130th. Twenty minutes of work. Then we followed that crew to a maintenance yard. That crew then spent an hour and ten minutes there.
We asked why would that crew spend more than an hour at the yard, and Michael Cox said he did not know.
While some of our questions went unanswered, taxpayers have lost patience with potholes left unfilled.
Kevin Napier said, "At the end of the day, our cars are taking a toll, a big toll. And I definitely think they need to get out and do a better job."
Last week, Mayor Frank Jackson announced how a tax increase would mean more potholes getting filled and more neighborhoods cleaned up.
But what we found calls into question whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.
You decide if you agree with city hall.
Michael Cox said, "No one's standing around. Everybody's working as hard as they can to get these potholes filled."