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Worker shortage affects leaf runs

As fall descends on the city, residents are arming themselves with rakes to reclaim their lawns before Jack Frost visits.

Wednesday, November 01, 2000

As fall descends on the city, residents are arming themselves with rakes to reclaim their lawns before Jack Frost visits.

And in Ironton, getting rid of the leaves once the raking is done, poses an extraordinary problem for city workers this year, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary said.

"We have a shortage of employees for a variety of reasons," Cleary said. "We’re advising residents that if they want their leaves picked up, they should bag them and we’ll pick them up with the garbage trucks."

He said leaves should be placed in a trash bag and put out to the curb for pick-up.

"Currently, we’re only operating with one person on the street department," he said. "We just don’t have the manpower to fully staff the leaf collection program. If the bags are sitting on the curb or their normal pick-up location, they will be picked up."

He said the program normally requires three to four people to operate efficiently, but the needed manpower won’t be available for several weeks.

"It’ll be two to three weeks before the city will be able to start the pickup program," he said. "The equipment is serviced and ready, but staffing is an issue."

Three street department workers have recently retired, but were not replaced to save the city a considerable amount of revenue, Cleary said.

He said four other employees have received injuries and are involved in Workers’ Compensation claims.

"We don’t know when they will be able to return," Cleary said. "We also have several workers from other departments that are ill. We are currently shifting our remaining employees around to fill vacancies in other departments. Many of our regular services have to continue operating."

He said the remaining employees are filling voids in the water treatment plant and sanitation department.

"This is the shortest we’ve ever been on manpower for as long as I can remember," he said. "We really apologize for any inconvenience this may cause residents. Because of the number of people we have out for various reasons, we’re really shorthanded."