Board thanks employees for work during snow storms

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The county board thanked Mower County Public Works employees, Sheriff’s deputies and dispatchers for their work during the busy winter Tuesday — but it may have been a bit early.

The board recognized about 20 employees in both Sheriff Terese Amazi’s and Public Works Director Mike Hanson’s offices for going above and beyond to clear the roads and keep residents safe during heavy snow storms this winter.

“They are a quality bunch,” Hanson said. “They are professionals; they care about what they do.”

Email newsletter signup

“We’ve got a great bunch,” Amazi agreed.

Hanson and Amazi shared a few stories about the employees in both offices spending long hours working together to rescue stranded residents and clear roads, especially during the Feb. 20-21 and March 4-5 storms. At one point, county employees even worked on state roads when state workers were backed up. Some residents even sent deputies thank you-cards; one included a check, which the deputy returned.

“All these folks went above and beyond,” Amazi said.

It wasn’t all positive, as Amazi noted many people ignored her “no travel” warning during the February storm.

“We had far too many people out and about,” she said.

Amazi said her warnings for people to stay put aren’t done lightly. The county even found one man who’d been in his car for 16 hours.

“We’re just very fortunate we didn’t have any fatalities,” she said.

As Commissioner Tony Bennett noted, “hopefully we are done with this.” And there’s the rub. Another winter storm packing a punch of snow and ice is predicted for Thursday into Friday.

County acts to reduce bank hours

Along with thanking Mower County Public Works employees, the board took steps to reduce their bank hours Tuesday.

The board approved a plan for Public Works Director Mike Hanson to send his employees home as a way to reduce the number of banked hours built up during the abnormally busy winter.

Hanson will work out a plan to send certain employees home, while still ensuring his office gets its work done. On June 1, the county will pay workers for all banked hours over 32 hours, which is the union-approved limit for bank hours. County Coordinator Craig Oscarson anticipates the board paying $2,000 to $4,000, a number that would be much higher if employees don’t take time off in coming months.

Hanson previously told the board several employees have more than 100 banked hours.