The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 5, 2013

Conneaut Public Works will lose supervisor spot

Staff Writer

CONNEAUT — A dwindling work force has prompted City Manager Tim Eggleston to abolish a supervisory position within the Public Work Department.

The job of assistant director will be dropped next year, Eggleston said Monday. John Falcone, who has held the position for the past few years, will stay on the city payroll until Jan. 17, Eggleston said. Falcone will try to use accrued vacation time until then, the manager said.

The department’s small number of employees didn’t justify having two supervisors, Eggleston said.

“It’s hard to fund two supervisors for nine guys,” he said. “And among those nine is one mechanic and the cemetery sexton.”

Council President Thomas Udell declined comment on the demise of the assistant director position, saying the legislative branch of government (council) should not interfere with the administration.

“I do know they are really short-handed (in the department),” he said.

It was not immediately known if the end of the Public Works assistant director’s position would allow the city to add a worker in 2014. The department has been particularly hard-hit in recent years, losing employees to budget cuts. In a report issued by the finance department last year, the Public Works Department shrank from 23 workers in 2000, 15 at the end of 2011 and now just nine, according to Eggleston.

Meanwhile, the department’s list of responsibilities continues to grow. In a recent activity report for October, Robert Mannion, Public Works director, said his crew spent last month patching potholes, fixing signs and traffic signals, repairing street lights and storm sewers, maintaining parks and cemeteries, mowing weeds and grass cleaning ditches and smoothing the city’s secondary roads.