City, DPW continue to address staffing challenges for snow plowing Milwaukee's streets

NOW: City, DPW continue to address staffing challenges for snow plowing Milwaukee’s streets


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said the city is working to address ongoing staffing challenges within the Department of Public Works that have left it with a shortage of snowplow drivers as winter weather ramps up.

"I know our staff, especially the administrative staff and the Department of Public Works, is on top of it working to make sure that regardless of those staffing shortages, that the roads in the city get clear so that folks can go about their daily business in the city," Johnson said in a news conference at a DPW facility on Dec. 29.

The department is short about 57 snow plow drivers. DPW leaders said even when they are able to pull in candidates and new hires, training for the job takes time and so filling in the positions is not instantaneous.

Because of that, the department has to incur a significant amount of overtime and have workers already on staff fill in for positions outside of their typical role.

"The people who perform this work are your garbage and recycle staff, your forestry teams, who prune trees, who plant trees and your infrastructure folks who fill pot holes," DPW Director of Operations Danielle Rodriguez told reporters. "And of course those team members, they have a day job to do and if we have snow and ice during the day they have to pivot over to snow and ice."

Officials also encouraged city residents to help ensure operations this winter run efficiently.

"We're going to do everything that we can and that we need to do on the city end to make sure that this winter moves smoothly," Johnson said. "But it's also important to recognize that the community plays a role in this as well."

Johnson said that includes driving safely during the winter months, shoveling sidewalks for pedestrians and obeying parking restrictions for snow removal when enforced.

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