TOWNSHIP OF CRYSTAL — With the director of this township’s Public Works Department announcing he will be retiring, the township is now considering a few options for the department’s future.
DPW director Roger Gooding announced in December that he would step down on March 31. At Wednesday’s meeting, Crystal Township council supervisor Curt McCracken said Gooding also had vacation time to use and could be finished earlier than that date.
Rather than immediately seek a new DPW director, Treasurer Nancy Mills asked if the township was considering other options.
“Are you going to keep the job as it is now?” Not outsourcing anything or anything like that? she wondered. “Have we looked at this, have we thought about it?
Although the DPW still has a part-time employee, Mills noted that contracting out some of the work could save the township money, as it would not involve paying for health insurance, compensation workers, etc.
“The only thing I question about that – when we rent it (the community center) over the weekend, someone should come in on Friday night to take out the rubbish from Head Start so it doesn’t sit there the whole weekend. Then on Saturdays, (Gooding) usually comes here, opens the door and makes sure the toilets are clean. Then he comes on Sunday morning to do the same thing. You should get a service that would be ready for an hour (every day).
“Do we even know all the little things he does and how does it go to the next person? If there’s anything that could be cut out and outsourced?” asked trustee Diane Rydahl .
If the township were to hire a replacement for Gooding instead of contracting out the work, McCracken said the council could also consider reducing the hours from the current position.
“I think we have to go back to where it was a few years ago,” he said. “After picking up the leaves, the full shift is down to 8 p.m. (per week) unless there’s a snow storm or whatever. For me, it’s crazy to have someone for 40 hours in the winter when you don’t have enough to do for them. They can come to work for 20 hours during the winter and then come back for 40 hours (sometimes in the spring).
“I’m sure we were paying him for it, but (Gooding) was going down on July 4, Memorial Day and picking up trash all weekend,” McCracken pointed out. “If we don’t have anyone to do that, you know what it’s going to look like on Monday or Tuesday.”
Mills added that while it’s not officially his title, Gooding also essentially functions as the township’s sexton, which means the council may need to consider hiring someone to fill that position as well.
Administrator Roger Martin favored further consideration of outsourcing options to fill Gooding’s position and retaining the part-time DPW employee as needed.
“I ask, in the long run, would it be cheaper to contract than to pay someone a full-time salary?” he wondered. “We only use lawn care for four months of the year, maybe.”
“I guess that’s where we need to get estimates,” Clerk Patty Baker-Marek replied. “When we checked on the maintenance of the lawn at Crystal Cemetery, it cost $400 to mow it and $300 each time they weeded it.”
The idea of seeing if township sewer department employees would be willing to do some of the snow removal during the winter months was also discussed.
During public comments, Crystal Township’s Sherry Kutt said she was fine with looking at contracting options.
“At least get some quotes and say, ‘hey, you’re right, you don’t pay workers’ compensation to the guys who mow in the summer, you don’t pay the vehicles or vehicle insurance.’ You don’t even pay for gas If you lump together the salary Roger would receive and all these other cost factors and balance it out, it can indeed be a cost savings for the township to have the rest contracted out mowing,” she said.
“I have a concern about who might fill Roger’s shoes before a rental, after a rental to open the building, close the building, clean up before and clean up after,” added Kelly Martin of Crystal Township. . “At the time when all these salaries are paid to do this – I’m not waiting for an answer, but I wonder, whatever the rents are worth, is it even profitable to rent?”