Good news, city taxpayers, not all was lost when the city water authority's $5 monthly warranty program was put out of its misery. At least some of your money was flowing to a Democratic ward chairman who just happens to be a top Public Works official too.
Joe Smydo and Rich Lord have the story today on 24th Ward chair John Klinger, who has a side business called Vortex Sewer Inc. that did repair jobs for the nixed warranty program, and which still owes his business more than $10,000:
Mr. Klinger makes about $61,000 annually as a street maintenance supervisor with the city public works department, according to the city controller's office. He's also Democratic chairman of the city's 24th Ward, giving him an influential role in city politics.
In an e-mail, Mr. Klinger said he performs no Vortex work on city time and had encountered no conflicts of interest arising from his outside pursuits. He said he commits evenings, weekends and vacations to Vortex.
"I perform no personal endeavor while working for the city," he said.
In all, Mr. Klinger said, Vortex has performed 62 repair jobs for Utility Line Security LLC, the company that received a 2009 contract to operate the line warranty program for PWSA. The program was implemented last year, with customers automatically charged $5 a month for line warranty protection unless they opted out.
No worries, though -- the Ravenstahl administration's solicitor Dan Regan cleared the side biz, saying the work doesn't seem to violate home rule charter prohibitions on side employment. "To our knowledge, they do not apply to this situation," he told the PG.
If Klinger's name rings a bell, we mentioned it in a recent post about machinations -- led by Ravenstahl pal and another top Public Works supervisor, Kevin Quigley -- to get Darlene Harris's opponent Vince Pallus the Democratic committee's endorsement.