City council discusses Public Works employees
Clintonville plans no changes
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville Common Council discussed the possibility of adding another employee to the Clintonville Public Works Department.
The council discussed the matter at its Jan. 10 meeting.
To lead off the discussion, Ald. Jim Supanich told the council that since the city is entering a new budgeting period, the council should look at options for staffing in the Clintonville Public Works Department.
“Right now we have a situation where we have problems at times covering spots when we have employees off on vacation or the like,” Supanich said. “We have an occasion where we have mechanics out doing street work where they may be doing some machine repair or maintenance.”
Supanich added that he has heard comments about the “sluggishness” at times of getting some projects done.
“This last fall we had a problem in my area on a couple of streets where the leaves became curb high or more, covering the storm sewers,” Supanich said. “We had residents out in the rain trying to clear that out. So, there’s a lot of things coming together on this.”
Adding staff to Public Works will be expensive, Supanich acknowledged, but he said it should be discussed during the next budgeting process.
He added that it could cost $90,000 to add one staff member to the department. This would include salary and benefits.
“But I think we need to start talking about it because it’s coming up in other areas too. I’m sure the Parks & Rec. (Department) has the same problem,” Supanich said.
When the Finance Committee discussed the matter the previous night, Supanich said the committee asked City Administrator Caz Muske to communicate with the city’s department heads to see what services the departments are providing, which are critical services, and determine if any of the services can be discontinued or delayed.
He added that the city could also research the use of sub-contractors for some projects.
Dwindling city employee numbers
“It used to be in the 1970s and into the 1980s the Streets Department had over 20 employees,” said Ald. Mark Zachow. “All they’ve done by people retiring, they haven’t replaced them. It’s gotten less and less and less. One of the problems I know, especially with a heavy snowfall, they pull guys from the utilities to help plow the streets. I mean, they shouldn’t have to do that.”
Ald. Tammy Strey-Hirt asked Public Works Director Justin Mc Auly what his department needs.
“I think we’re struggling more on the streets level than the Parks and Rec., to be honest with you,” Mc Auly said.
He said the city’s sidewalk program is labor intensive. He added that the use of the tar kettle purchased last year to fill cracks in the streets to extend the life of the streets will also be labor intensive.
“What it’s going to come down to is you’re going to be attacking less of the sidewalks each year and get farther behind,” Mc Auly said. “Just doing less in each area.”
The council took no action at the Jan. 10 meeting.