The devil’s in the details

Full Op-Ed posted on Telegram & Gazette

By Roberta Schaefer


At a time of fiscal crisis, Massachusetts communities are failing to take advantage of an opportunity for savings by using civilian flaggers instead of off-duty police officers to direct traffic and guard road construction and utility projects. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, the legislation approved in 2008 requires only the state to use flaggers on projects on which it is the awarding authority, and then only on work sites that are considered to have low traffic volume at low speeds (under 45 mph). The decision to use flaggers on local projects must be made by each jurisdiction. In communities where local police union contracts require the use of off-duty police at these worksites, including four-hour minimum assignments, those contracts would have to be renegotiated.

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