Thomas Powers, new Commissioner of Chicago Department of Water Management

2242_north_spaulding_Chicago.jpg It was Sunday morning and I heard it again, “I like working for Jesse, you know you will get your time.” I got my assignments for the day and I was kept away from that job site. My radar starts pinging when a certain chain of events occur. That is the advantage of experience. I called the foreman Jesse Canet and let him know I would head out to that job and watch what was going on. He told me it would not be necessary and I was not wanted. Many times after work, I watch the progress of overtime jobs to gain insight into loafing and general waste. I was told that morning the job would not go over 8 hours. Sure enough it did. The foreman screamed out of the Sunnyside yard and took his car to the jobsite at around 3:00 p.m. Since he always worked out of the City Truck, this peaked my curiosity. I called the big boss and was told not to interfere with the job at 2242 North Spaulding. I explained I was concerned about the overtime and possible waste of taxpayers’ money. When I go to these jobs, I do so as a journalist and videographer. I enjoy my website and the knowledge it imparts. The first information I got was from the night investigator crew and it sounded funny like some overtime was made for Jesse’s crew. I also talked to a high ranking official that told me the crew waited much of the day for a Vactor. A Vator is a large sewer truck that is basically a jet rod and massive vacuum. When I went to the site, I saw in my opinion, a three or four hour job. But on Sunday, and double-time an opportunity like this could make for some powerful paychecks. I was also surprised because Jesse Canet was not on the overtime list. The overtime list has foreman and plumbers that have no interest in working overtime. That way the boss can put his friends and pets on these lucrative jobs. As soon as I arrived, the work began at a furious rate I have never seen before. I think it was because I was videotaping. Two of the workers were covering their faces. It was brought to my attention the crew was mad because a “rat” was watching. In the past a job like this would have gone for 16 hours. That would mean a paycheck of at least $1440.00 on top of a $4,000.00 bi-weekly take home check. At around 4:00 the work was going fast and furious, the crew was done at 4:30 p.m. I think I heard Jesse Canet say swipe out at 5:30 p.m. One hour travel time at double time. Earlier in the day the big boss told me Jesse is the only guy they can get to work the overtime. His caulker always seems to get the overtime with him. The call from the leak desk was water in the basement; I think we all got soaked again. Amazing how I found out the basement is a full basement and unoccupied, hardly an emergency. I was told this is a clout job. Clout is really expensive in Chicago. If the basement was occupied, someone needs to pay taxes. Welcome Commissioner Powers, the game stays the same. Photo by Patrick McDonough.

8 Replies to “Thomas Powers, new Commissioner of Chicago Department of Water Management”

  1. Plumbers’ contract expires; more talks set

    June 1, 2010

    Members of Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 saw their contract expire on Monday, though more contract talks are scheduled for later this week.

    The union voted last week to authorize a strike after failing to come to an agreement with the trade association negotiating the contract.

    The union’s most recent proposal — which calls for a $2.75-an-hour raise the first year, $3.20 the second year and $3.50 the third year — was rejected by the Plumbing Contractors Association of Chicago and Cook County, according to the group that handles labor relations between the union and contractors.

    The PCA has stood by its first offer: No increase for year one, followed by a $1.58 increase for year two and $1.95 for year three — only if 4.2 million working hours have been reached.

    Local 130 rejected this proposal again May 24 before taking the vote that gives union officials the authority to call a strike, according to the PCA. A meeting between both sides is set for Thursday.

  2. This scam has been going on for a decade. Why doesn’t somebody follow this crew and document all the waste of time and money it takes to fix the most routine of jobs! Disgraceful!! Every overtime job is eight hours at the very least! Somethings never change!

  3. “Amazing how I found out the basement is a full basement and unoccupied, hardly an emergency.”…..

    I bet 100% of Chicago homeowners would disagree with your statement. There was a major sinkhole in the street and sewer water coming up in the basement. A health issue for the residents regardless if the basement was living space or not. Once again you cry wolf thus the reason people stopped taking you seriously long ago.

  4. I think this is called “sour grapes” Jesse is a good guy and a hard worker

  5. Hello everyone !

    Hey Bird Eyes, I work Saturday on a broken full port open hydrant, I only worked 4 hours on overtime, so the fact that every job is 8 hours or more. When I work with Jesse’s caulker he is a fair acting foreman, not a scammer. I hope the caulker becomes a foreman with a leak crew, he is a fair man, but he has gotten F**Ked over, because he has more time than another caulker, Jesse’s caulker was told not to make waves, to get on a investagator crew 3 to 11 pm. Bruce Randazzo was about to help this caulker file charges with the NLRB and the IDHR, and John was so scared to do anything. These people in a higher position with the “Water Management Dept.” have scared many workers into doing nothing about the corruptions. I do respect the Caulker on Jesse’s crew. But I feel that the caulker with 10 years on the job should not be the investagator from 3 to 11. John should be the afternoon investagator, not the other guy thats on there now. Thats my Opinion. When I become Alderman, these things (coruption) will be stopped at the Water Management Dept. Thats my promise!!!
    For I am Bruce Randazzo the crime fighter when elected !!


  7. Don’t blame the foreman. Blame management. Nobody is watching anybody. If they are going to have this many supervisors why don’t they do their job.

  8. This one is for “plumber that served his time.” First of all have the guts to post your name. Second, the caulker has been part of this department for a 100 years. If you are not an alderman suckhole than you must be a union suckhole. So give me a break Johnny come lately.

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