Gov. Shapiro makes a promise, and keeps it

I’m jumping the gun a wee bit here, hanging the garland of praise around the neck of Gov. Josh Shapiro before his announced noon Friday opening of I-95 in Northeast Philly.

Gov. Josh Shapiro: Portrait of a man in charge. (Photo: The Business Journals)
That is under his original stunning statement that the big interstate would open in two weeks, not the many months almost all the experts predicted.

What we have here is a master’s class in leadership.

I’m not an expert, but when all that chatter was grinding, I posted this on Facebook. 

Why the hell should it take months, I asked myself outloud? 

I was treated to a lot of know-nothing nay-sayers, the “can’t do” brigade, led by two former Daily News colleagues.

In essence, they were saying what the hell do you know about engineering and construction? They cited bridge projects that took as long as a year. But this was not a bridge — it was 50 yards of overpass.

Meanwhile, other posters came up with projects, such as in China, Holland, and Atlanta, done in days, but the “can’t do” duo were stuck on stupid, too cocksure to allow even for the possibility it could be done. Both are native Philadelphians who now live in Jersey. They must have taken their negadelphia with them.

Me? I wasn’t sure, but felt Shapiro must have been. That’s when I posted this:

There is a general rule of management that leaders should underpromise and overdeliver.

Before he made his promise/prediction, Shapiro had to have a long talk with contractor Buckley &  Co., other contractors, and the building trades unions involved.

I can imagine the conversation going like this:

Shapiro:  We have a big mess on our hands. This is going to create massive inconvenience for motorists and the poor folks living in the neighborhood. The internet is already buzzing with anti-union talk, and how the government can’t get anything done. I’m cutting through the red tape and won’t put this job out for bid. Buckley, you already have state contracts. How soon can you get this done?

Buckley: It won’t be cheap. Are we going to haggle over money?

Shapiro: The deal is open-ended, there is no budget. Can you do it?

Buckley: Weather permitting, two weeks.

Shapiro: Great. Don’t screw me. Unions?

Unions: We want to show off what we can do. You OK double and triple time and we’ll work 24/7 and do it in two weeks.

Shapiro: You got a deal. Don’t screw me. 

Other subcontractors with existing contractors also agreed.

Shapiro then ordered the project to be live streamed, for paramount transparency. It became almost must-see TV.

When the patch opens at noon today, it is a win, win, win, win.

Motorists and neighbors win. The contractors win.  [Note to journalists: Start monitoring the incoming bills to see that no one is overbilling.] The unions win. Shapiro wins, and he immediately becomes a future Democratic presidential talking point.

This becomes a study in “can do” leadership. 

Budget and various kinds of studies, such as environmental,  can’t be eliminated for every job, but they can be put on a diet.

Shapiro’s leadership has provided a model for other leaders.


23 thoughts on “Gov. Shapiro makes a promise, and keeps it”

  1. Proud as hell to have him as a member of the tribe. Tenacity in the face of all odds has always been our best trait.


  3. Shiparo’s Red Zone started on the 50 yard line. He had two weeks to punch through to the End Zone. He did.

  4. Governor Shapiro has been the governor for a matter of months and already there are signs that this office is a stepping stone to bigger and higher political offices. Soon Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman, due to medical reasons, will be unable to hold his position as Senator. When that happens the Governor is the person to pick his replacement. I feel the Governor with the party’s backing will pick himself.

    1. AGREED You are looking at the next President of United States in 2028, Yay, the first Jewish President! And yes it can happen in this country now, with more young people taking charge and voting.

      1. Statistically, young people don’t turn out except for rare exception (Obama) The population is getting older and it is the mature citizens who will someday elect a Jewish president.

  5. Shapiro gets my vote… and I’m a Republican (who left the reservation for Ed Rendell and Ed Koch). Shapiro showed what LEADERSHIP is all about: “Follow me or get out of the way!”

    Now, who are the a-holes responsible for closing Mill Creek Road at the 1690 house for MONTHS now, while they futz around with a small bridge rebuilding? IS ANYONE IN CHARGE?

  6. I think the federal funds are really what made this possible. The governor can easily approve double time and triple time for 24-7 workers to get the job done when he has a blank check from the feds.
    In a regular state project like the tire fire some years ago there would be budgets and contractors bidding on the job, politics, which is what usually slows down every project.
    I think the governor deserves credit for being a strong leader but the blank check made it possible.

  7. Krasner will be convening a grand jury soon to bring charges against Shapiro and Buckley for the no-bid contract

  8. It’s amazing what can be done when people think clearly, work together, and devote appropriate resources to something. This is a very big win for PA, government in general, and for everyone who uses that important thoroughfare. Color me impressed. More of this, please.

  9. Can’t wait to see the campaign ad:”
    “ They sa it d it would take 6 months. Shapiro got it done in 2 weeks!”. Credit to him

  10. Even though progressives hate nascar for some reason , a big thanks to them for loaning their quick dry machine to minimize the down time after it rained ,before the contractors could start up again

    1. Thanks. I meant to mention this, but couldn’t recall where the machine came from. From the initial idea, to the glass aggregate, to this drier, to the mascots on a truck, this was SMART all the way though.

  11. No bit, general contractor, Statee & Federal money : “No sweat, we’ll have it done in a week working 24/7”.
    PennDoT: “Well, perhaps a year or two. We’ll work on it except for weekends and holidays.”

  12. Shapiro knew it could be done. Why, look at what the governor of Florida accomplished merely eight months ago. A similar catastrophe wiped out the Pine Island Bridge. However, DeSantis had his up and running in three days. I’d laud both governors for their efforts and accomplishments.

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