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Advisory Concerning Tree Trimming Operations at the Bureau of Forestry

Report Details

Report Description: 
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has identified an opportunity to immediately improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s (DSS) Bureau of Forestry. The issue was identified during an OIG investigation involving the Bureau of Forestry, which is responsible for trimming trees and responding to tree emergencies throughout the City. According to the Monitor Group’s report, issued on May 1, 2009, a grid-based approach would make the Bureau of Forestry much more efficient—reducing the average crew’s travel time by 35% and the average cost per tree trim by 60%. The decrease in travel and equipment setup and teardown time for DSS employees would also result in more of the City receiving much-needed tree trimming services, because DSS could increase its daily tree trims per crew by 147%. This would result in 87% more addresses receiving services over the course of a year. Given the tremendous benefits of an arboriculturally appropriate, grid-based approach to tree-trimming, OIG urges DSS to review the 2009 Monitor Group report—which further describes the benefits of adopting this approach and includes detailed implementation recommendations—and take the necessary steps in order to optimize its use of City resources, more effectively maintain and preserve the urban forest as a critical City asset, and better and more equitably serve City residents.
Date Issued: 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Agency Reviewed / Investigated: 
Chicago, IL
United States
Type of Report: 
Advisory Reports
Professional Standard: 
GAO's Yellow Book, Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS)

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