Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Retired Drivers to Join Plowing Crew

Bauman's proposal gets endorsed by Department of Public Works, but may take a year.

By - Mar 6th, 2019 03:03 pm
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City of Milwaukee Snow Plow. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

City of Milwaukee Snow Plow. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A proposal by Alderman Robert Bauman to have the city hire retired city plow drivers as a supplemental plowing force is moving forward.

The proposal came after a report from the Department of Public Works in February that said driver inexperience and staffing shortages were negatively impacting the city’s ability to plow snow. “Frankly, retirees were calling our offices and saying ‘why don’t you bring us back?'”, said Bauman.

“How many are willing to work? I don’t have a clue. How to organize this? Beyond my pay grade,” said Bauman, pushing DPW for action.

Dan Thomas, DPW administrative services director, presented the department’s plan Wednesday morning at a meeting of the Public Works Committee.

The plan would have drivers that retired within the last three years apply to work as supplemental drivers. “We would require a commitment for the entire snow season,” said Thomas. Retirees could continue to draw on their pensions, but wouldn’t accrue additional benefits. They would be paid hourly at the same rate as existing drivers. After eight hours on a shift they would earn time-and-a-half pay. To qualify retirees would still need to live within 15 miles of the city.

“We believe that this is possible,” said Thomas. How many drivers would apply is unclear at this point, he added.

The cost will likely be easy for the city to absorb. Thomas found that the program would likely cost $62,000, estimating 20 drivers working 10 shifts each. Upon hearing the cost, Ald. Mark Borkowski said: “I would be up for some kind of incentive to get people on this list.”

According to Thomas the retirees, who would be hired back through a previously approved temporary appointment program, would be able to do any work associated with the snow clearing operation.

“Good work. This is action. Excellent,” said Bauman.

But don’t expect immediate action, the plan wouldn’t go into effect until the 2019-2020 plowing season. And it still requires the approval of the Common Council and Mayor.

Categories: City Hall

One thought on “City Hall: Retired Drivers to Join Plowing Crew”

  1. jghagen29 says:

    This is what happens when jobs are given to outside employers. You lose control over our actions, the very ones you are responsible to see done correctly.
    And, overall, does the city really save money?
    No. If this were an perfect world where everything would happen exactly as planned? Possibly.
    But we live in a world where where any and everything can go wrong. If you have control over your workers, equipment and how these are dispatched, you are able to handle problems. If your work is performed by contracted sub-contractors, anything extra will cost added finds and the speed in which those added expenses really happen is going to be slower.
    Think about it, if you are a sub-contractor, you’re going to spend exactly what your contract calls for. You won’t have extra equipment or workers to do the extra work without have big financial provisions in the contract.
    Municipalities continually sublet work in order to “save” money only to end up putting any saving directly into the pockets of the subs. Who, usually are the buddies of the local boards responsible for doling out the cash.
    I am not a huge union supporter but I do strongly fee; that the [powers that be in government need to GOVERN! That means running a tight ship and getting the necessary work done by empolyee’s whose first interest is in serving their communities.

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