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Staff shakeup saves money

Superior’s Public Works Department is getting a shakeup to save money.

The Human Resources Committee approved eliminating one supervisory position, shifting some duties to other supervisors and utilizing working foremen for projects.

The plan calls for eliminating the street superintendent, which shared responsibility with the public works superintendent to oversee the construction and maintenance, and sign divisions, in addition to supervising the streets division of Public Works. Construction, maintenance and signs will come under management of the parks, recreation and forestry superintendent.

The current street superintendent, Nathan Johnstad, will fill the public works superintendent position. He has been filling the post on an interim basis since longtime public works superintendent, Clarence Mattson, retired earlier this year.

“With Clarence’s retirement it’s time to evaluate where things are at and how they are evolving,” said Public Works Director Jeff Goetzman. “One of those things, like last year, we hired a lot more seasonal (workers) to fill potholes and things like that.”

Goetzman said the money saved by eliminating the position gives the Public Works Department a little more flexibility to address needs.

With the elimination of the street superintendent position, there will be a need for daily supervision, said Human Resources Director Cammy Koneczny. That will be taken care of with working foreman that oversee the project and make arrangements for necessary equipment and supplies.

Goetzman some of the money saved by eliminating the street superintendent position can be used to pay those who step up to be working foremen a little extra. It also gives the department a little more flexibility to hire seasonal workers without looking elsewhere for the money.

“It’s kind of adjustment in work duties over there, and kind of a bump in pay for those guys that step up and act as working foremen,” Goetzman said.

Goetzman said the department has been working this way since January, when Mattson left. It’s given the department a chance to test the changes before bringing the proposal to the Human Resources Committee.

“They have been team managing it beautifully,” said Mary Morgan, parks, recreation and forestry director. “But it is a lot of work.”