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Alderman introduces measure to ‘develop a reserve force’ for snow removal operations

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Alderman Bob Bauman on Tuesday, Feb. 26 introduced legislation he said would “beef up” snow and ice removal efforts in the city. According to a news release, it would direct the Department of Public Works to develop a reserve force of drivers and supervisors recruited from the ranks of retired city employees.

The release said at the Feb. 13 Public Works Committee meeting, DPW officials were asked to report on the quality and efficiency of snow removal operations when the city received more than a foot of snow. DPW officials said while the goal is to safely, effectively and promptly remove and control snow and ice from city streets, bridges and crosswalks, work force capacity issues hampered their efforts.

Worker shortages because of high turnover in key positions such as equipment drivers, reliance on sanitation crews to plow snow rather than collect garbage and recyclables and the routine 16-18 hour shifts during a snow event all contribute to a relatively inexperienced team trying to keep pace battling the winter elements.

“Considering the challenges our stretched-thin DPW crews face during a snow event, why not engage a reserve force of plow and salt truck drivers to step in to assist with our round-the-clock operations?” Alderman Bauman said in the release. “The most knowledgeable and experienced candidates for this reserve force are former DPW employees who have the know-how and familiarity to get the job done, working alongside current crew members or offering them a much-needed break from snow and ice control duties to rest and recharge.”

This proposed legislation will be discussed at a future Public Works Committee meeting, according to the release.

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