Our Public Works Department consists of 48 people. They are responsible for maintaining our roads, roadsides, ditches and drainage, safe drinking water and proper disposal of our wastewater (both getting it to the plant and then treatment). They are the unsung heroes of our community.
Due to the current labor shortage in general, we currently have 12 positions vacant (28%). Two of those individuals recently left for better jobs. One enjoys a 30% increase in pay and no longer needs to maintain certifications. (Ten vacancies in yellow, Two departed for greener pastures, a red slash).
Eleven employees are out due to being Covid positive or close contact (red squares). Actual headcounts vary on a day-to-day basis.
Sidenote #1: The sewer department currently consists of one person. The streets department consists of zero. Certain times this week there were no commercially licensed drivers (CDLs) trained to operate certain trucks. We have the trucks ... but we do not always have the drivers to drive them.
With this in mind, please be mindful of our current challenges in cutting grass, cleaning ditches, sewer line repairs, water line repairs, street repairs and / or projects of any kind.
Sidenote #2: Big Thanks to the City Council for recently enacting a $2,000 per person per year raise. Pay increases are the number one contributor to decreasing job vacancies.
Sidenote #3: Big Thanks to St. Tammany Parish and Parish President Mike Cooper. Through our Mutual Aid Agreement, the Parish provided us a CDL certified driver and vacuum truck. With this help, we were able to prevent an overflow at a malfunctioning lift station.
Sidenote #4: The City has 68 sewer lift stations. Each one combines mechanical pumps and electronics operating in a toxic environment. Inevitably they break. Maintaining and upgrading these stations shall remain a top priority. Not glamorous, but very important.