By: Diane Benjamin
Public Works employees aren’t happy, especially with Jim Karch. The feeling I get from discussions with some of them is that they don’t trust him and how the department is run.
Start with the new garbage trucks and cans purchased some years ago. It was supposed to save money and the backs of workers. But last week a citizen reported to me the cans were being picked up and three workers were required. That wasn’t in the new plan.
Meanwhile, garbage rates have done nothing but increase, so where is the promised savings?
Then, remember the party at Public Works: https://blnnews.com/2018/06/04/party-at-public-works/
The City told me no taxpayer money was used, it was paid for from the vending machine profits. The problem with that is vending machines on public property generating income means it is tax money. The only way to verify that was to FOIA the vending machine contracts. I’m still waiting, the City extended my request. FOIA_1_EXTENSION_18-06-0680_
They haven’t located the contracts yet, evidently they don’t have a “contracts” drawer.
Next I heard from employees that a large group was taken off filling potholes etc to attend a class on using sewer cameras and rating the sewers condition. I FOIA’d that. This is what I received:
That’s a total of $12,274.95.
The Public Works guys are telling me this job has a heavy operator classification and only senior level employees will ever be able to use the working sewer truck. They also told me one person trained was a seasonal tech who will never use the truck.
I asked Jim Karch why so many employees were trained. This was his response:
The Public Works guys told me the City only has one camera truck, so I asked Jim how many they have. This was his response:
Confused? I have no doubt the Public Works guys want to do a good job for taxpayers. They are frustrated by what they see as wasteful spending and even lies about potential savings. Their available staff was supposed to increase when bulk waste pickup went to twice a year. They haven’t seen any additional workers yet.
I’ve always thought Jim Karch plainly laid out why the streets are a disaster – the Council has failed to provide enough money for years if not decades. Now somehow they find more money right before elections. Every other year some work gets done, don’t expect much next year after the April 2019 election.
The one obvious problem is the disconnect between Jim Karch and the guys who work for him. The employees aren’t happy with what they think is wasteful spending. Spending 3 days training employees who will never use the equipment is evidence. Somebody needs to start listening to them. Somebody should also figure out where all the promised savings are. Instead of asking questions, the Council passed automatic 3% increases every year so they never have to discuss garbage again.
Maybe a new Council would help.