City of Syracuse DPW Says “We Will Be Better”

The City of Syracuse is recovering after the first significant snowfall of the season.

Monday, Syracuse Public Works Commissioner Jeremy Robinson stood in front of the city council to explain what happened before and during last week's snowfall.

"I am not making any excuses," Robinson said. "We all have to get better down at DPW as a whole."

Neighbors have been very vocal about the DPW's work last week.

"We didn't get a lot of snow. It stopped at what? Nine o'clock? So this should have been cleared," said Brian Henneberry of Syracuse on Friday.

According to Robinson, the DPW was still in the process of picking up leaves when the snow came and not all the vehicles had been converted over for snow and ice removal. On top of that, Robinson says there were employees getting in vacation before the winter season picks up, which in some cases allows those switching to the night shift to get on a proper sleep schedule.

"Normally, we have about 58 night shift employees, 49 day shift employees, so over 100 employees total fighting the snow on a normal operation," he said. "On Friday, we had 39 working around the clock. Some working 16 hours. Some going back home, grabbing a bite to eat and coming back in." He would go on to say "We will be better."

Starting this week, the DPW goes to a two shift system, day and night which should even the workload during snowstorms. At Monday's meeting, Operations Director Corey Driscoll Dunham said an underlining problem is the lack of mechanics for the city's larger equipment.

She said DPW and other departments have a limited number of mechanics and converting trucks from leaf pickup to snow removal takes longer than it should. Dunham added that the city is looking into ways to address this problem, with having more competitive wages being a possible solution.

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