Staffing issues hampering snow-removal efforts in Waynesboro
The City of Waynesboro is struggling, because of our cheap City Council, to get residential roadways cleared from Sunday’s snow.
“We expect that every road will have been plowed and have at least one lane open by midday today,” City Manager Mike Hamp wrote in an email to Augusta Free Press Tuesday morning.
“In subsequent days, resources will return to residential areas to perform additional clean-up with crews being asked to take care to not to re-plow-in residents,” Hamp said.
The big issue here: lack of staffing.
“The Public Works Operations currently have eight vacant positions, and the need for equipment operators is especially acute,” Hamp said.
This issue, you may remember, was a top headline on AFP last month. The city’s human resources director, Nichole Nicholson, told members of Waynesboro City Council at a December retreat that the city was having trouble keeping sanitation workers, who are utilized in winter-weather events as the backbone of snow-removal efforts, because we’re only paying them $11 an hour, compared to the $17 an hour that our neighbors to the west in Staunton are paying.
A big sign out in front of the Subway at the corner of Main and Broad has been advertising jobs for sandwich makers starting at $13 per hour for weeks.
A generation of cheap government is threatening basic service and public safety in our fair city.
The situation with snow removal in the here and now is so dire that Hamp said today that supervisors are being utilized as equipment operators.
“Our crews have been on 12-hour shifts since before the precipitation started; we expect to continue 12-hour shifts through Wednesday (midnight),” Hamp said.
Trash pick-up operations, especially in alley access areas, are also being significantly impacted, Hamp said.
“Plans are in place now for crews to collect trash through Saturday if necessary, provided that there are not significant impacts from this weekend’s predicted snow event,” Hamp said.
On top of all this, a water main break reported this morning forced the diversion of four crew members from snow-removal operations, Hamp said.
“We understand that residents and businesses rely on the road system; our crews are dedicated to the safe and efficient delivery of service,” Hamp said.
This isn’t Hamp’s fault, for this readying the sharply-worded emails to the city manager.
This is your backwards-thinking City Council shirking its basic responsibilities.
Story by Chris Graham