Councilman Williams seeks more help for DPW

First Ward Councilman Don Williams Jr. is seeking more manpower for the public works department with the winter months closing in. Williams is also questioning the use of a streets worker within the mayor’s impact team.

A city councilman is seeking more manpower in the streets department with winter months away. He’s also questioning the use of a streets employee for the mayor’s “impact team.”

First Ward Councilman Don Williams Jr. took a moment during last week’s Personnel Committee meeting to express the need for more help within the public works department. Williams asked David Campola, city human resources director, if there’s any plan to hire more full-time employees. Campola said the mayor would like to, but he’s waiting for budget figures to come out.

“It makes sense to do that, but obviously the money’s got to be there in order to do it,” he said.

Williams also questioned Campola regarding the use of a streets employee within the mayor’s impact team, of which a few city workers are pulled from various departments, such as streets, parks and wastewater, to take care of miscellaneous jobs that warrant attention. Campola responded to Williams’ question by saying there’s “no real personnel” on the team.

“The mayor wants the ability to pull some people who have special skills to go here and go there,” he said.

Williams said he heard the streets worker has been with the impact team for seven months. Campola said the impact team has only been going for a month and a half. Campola told Williams the worker will be going back to the public works department shortly. Williams said he was told that a month ago.

In a follow-up interview with the OBSERVER, Williams said he likes the concept of the mayor’s impact team. However, he said departments, like public works, are already short staffed.

Williams said he would like to see the streets worker return to his department. He also said there’s a need for four more employees within public works. Williams said he’d like to see two shifts going on during the winter for snow plowing to better cover streets around the clock and to cut back on overtime. He also noted issues that need the public works department’s attention, including sinkholes on city streets that haven’t been addressed yet.

Cutting overtime hours and contracted services are two things the city could do to bring additional help, he said.

Common Council will gather for its regularly scheduled meeting today at 5:30 p.m. inside the city courtroom. Five pre-filed resolutions are on the agenda for council members’ consideration:

¯ Engineering services to furnish and install Scada System/Modify add to Scada System as needed for city of Dunkirk Wastewater and Water Treatment plants

¯ Authorizing the mayor to execute Chautauqua County Agreement Amendment (snow removal and ice control)

¯ Authorizing the Retainer agreement with Colucci & Gallaher P.C. for the vacant property line initiative

¯ Authorizing budget line modifications for fiscal year 2018

¯ Accepting electrical contract for wastewater treatment plant improvements