DCR pays millions to private contractors even though it had the equipment to do the job

REVERE, MASS. (WHDH) - 7News found private crews clearing one of the more than 8,500 drainage structures on DCR property. DCR is the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. While these companies rack up big bills that the state has to pay, a $370,000 truck the agency bought to do the same job sits in a Revere parking lot.

“That machine should not be sitting in a parking lot unused while tax payers are paying to have other people do the work,” says Gregg Sullivan of the watchdog group, Pioneer Institute.

DCR admits it bought the vacuum truck in 2014 to clear the storm drains.

A 7News investigation revealed instead of using the pricey vehicle the agency has been paying private companies to do the job – at a cost of nearly $1.6 million in 2014, more than $1.9 million in 2015 and over $2.5 million in 2016.

That’s six-and-a-half million dollars of your tax dollars.

Sullivan says that’s outrageous. “To me, it’s inexcusable for the taxpayers to have to pay for this, period.”

DCR says the truck was used in 2014 and 2015 but it doesn’t seem like it was used very much. DCR confirmed to 7News the vehicle only has 1,100 miles on it.

“My grandmother drives more than that,” says Sullivan. “So that’s no mileage.”

The DCR released a statement that says, “due to an ongoing labor issue, the truck was not used.”

However, it only took about three weeks from when 7News first asked about the truck for the vehicle to be regularly put in use. In the statement the DCR released, the department says, “the issue was resolved recently…and the truck has since been redelopyed into the fleet.”

7 News asked the DCR for an on camera interview but they declined repeated requests.

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