It’s ultimately up to the mayor to decide, but members of the common council informally agreed to support the idea of moving three department of public works employees to third shift, primarily to respond to icy conditions quicker. The council discussed the idea at a committee meeting on Tuesday with DPW General Supervisor Phil Bracchi who was also in favor of the change.
Police Chief Greg Culick recalled there were third shift workers available approximately two years ago, and officers could call DPW if there was an area that was causing accidents.
“It’s a huge public safety benefit,” said Culick.
Bracchi said that under the current contract for DPW workers, the mayor has the option to establish a third shift. Third shift workers would receive a 10% differential on their pay. Bracchi said that there would always be jobs the workers could be doing even if there was no winter road issues.
The extra money could potentially come out of the snow removal overtime budget line. That line has been set at $60,000 for several years. According to Controller Matt Agresta, that line was exceeded by approximately $40,000 over the severe winter two years ago, but over last year’s mild winder, expenses came in $30,000 under budget. So far this year, only $1,500 from the line has been used.
In regards to the proposed idea Agresta said, “I think it’s beneficial if we have a winter like we did two years ago and then we’re not paying [over $100,000] in overtime.”
However, Agresta said he was unsure if it the extra cost would be offset by savings in overtime during mild winters. He recommended a more detailed study of the costs.
Alderman Jim Martuscello emphasized that the decision would be up to the mayor.
“We can’t hire and we can’t fire and we can’t tell anyone what to do. That’s not our job. It’s the mayor’s job. As far as where the money’s coming from, that is our job,” he said.
Reached for comment later, Mayor Michael Villa said he still needs to talk with the city engineer further before making a decision.