Public Works revamp focus of council

A plan to reorganize the Public Works Department will again be the focus of the Fort Dodge City Council when it meets Monday.

The council meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S., with a workshop discussion on the plan.

Key elements of the proposal are slated to be voted on during the council’s regular business meeting, which will start at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

The Public Works Department now has 46 employees in seven divisions: sanitation, streets, traffic safety, vehicle maintenance, utilities distribution and water meters.

The reorganization plan proposed by City Manager David Fierke would consolidate the employees into three divisions: water utility, streets and sanitation, and vehicle maintenance.

That plan would also create a new water utility operations manager position with a salary in the range of $56,500 and $72,000. Establishing that post is necessary to comply with state Department of Natural Resources regulations, according to Fierke.

Unionized employees of the department represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, have raised numerous questions about the plan, and twice the City Council has directed Fierke to have more discussions about the plan with the workers.

During their Aug. 12 meeting council members postponed action on elements of the reorganization plan, and rejected the creation of the water utility operations manager post on a 4-3 vote.

Also on Monday, the council is expected to vote on the second reading of a significant overhaul of the city’s animal control laws.

The changes, which have been discussed since May, have attracted increasing criticism from pet owners. In response to that criticism, officials changed one aspect of the proposal recently by changing the maximum allowable length of a dog’s leash from 6 feet to 16 feet.