I received notice of a new township policy concerning the issue of snow removal that will affect township employees and residents alike.
I've been told that on Thursday, township administrators decided that township employees who will be plowing the snow from Middletown's streets during and after this current snow storm that we are experiencing , will not be allowed to work in excess of 16 hours per shift and must have 8 hours off before returning to work. Typically, those township employees that have been removing snow from the Middletown's main streets and neighborhoods have been allowed to work upwards to 24 hours straight without having to go home, in order to get township roads cleaned.
Township employees were notified of this change in policy late yesterday, before the storm hit. This will mean that it will take longer to remove the snow off the streets. It will also mean that people may be house bound a little longer this weekend than they would like.
There could be any number of reasons why this new policy was enacted. It could have something to due with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules pertaining to the amount of hours a person can work, where non emergency or nonessential personnel are prohibited from working more that 16 hours per shift or it could have to do with something else, like paying employees excessive overtime to plow the streets at a time when the township is still reeling from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy, trying to put a budget together with as little a tax increase as possible.
I wonder if this Blizzard of 2013 would have taken place earlier in the week, as opposed to the weekend, if Middletown would have enacted this new policy as they did or would the administrators have held off so that the roads could have been cleared as soon as possible, so that people could get to work.
I would think that if the Township was planning to limit the hours that its employees could spend plowing snow this year that they would come up with a plan that would ensure that plows stay on the street until the job of snow removal was complete, like having plowers work in 12 hour shifts. This way no one is over worked and plow trucks are kept on the roads without an 8 hour gap in between shifts.
I guess we'll just have to see how it works out.
I just want to give Kudos to those that cleared the streets earlier today. While to Blizzard of 2013 may not have been the event to everyone was expecting, it was still quite a storm and those that cleared the streets of snow (at least in my little neck of Middletown) did a yeoman jobs of moving it!