They form an odd sight on the once-mean, now-trendy streets of Bucktown and Wicker Park: The bespectacled alderman of a young, affluent ward and his blue-collar aide, popping sewer grates and wielding shovels.

Almost five years after the Daley administration fired Frank Coconate from the Water Management Department for allegedly loafing and lying about it, the unrelenting mayoral critic is again sticking his shaved head into the city’s plumbing system and wearing a yellow safety vest. Except the name written on the back of the vest is not Mayor Richard M. Daley, but rather Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), who pays Mr. Coconate about $100 a week from campaign funds for part-time help as an “infrastructure consultant.”