works department to be reorganized at county
Platte Countys Public Works Department
is undergoing a major renovation of sorts, according to
Public Works Director Greg Sager.
The decision to reorganize the department came with the
hiring of Sager, after it was determined by the Platte
County Commission that the department was not running
as efficiently as it could be.
We felt Greg was capable of leading
public works in the right direction, said Second
District Commissioner Jim Plunkett. We just want
to be able to provide the taxpayers the best value for
their money and that starts with efficiency.
With Sager at the helm, he has begun forming
a new Public Works Department that will provide the efficiency
the commission is hoping to achieve.
Were cleaning up this public
works department, said Sager. This will turn
this department upside down. I want to make this a more
user friendly, efficient and effective department. A kind
of department you would expect in a first class county.
The first step in cleaning up the department
was identifying its functions.
We identified where we were at,
where we wanted to go and how we wanted to get there,
With the help of the county commission,
Sager developed an organizational chart that documents
the four new sections which will now be under his supervision,
instead of a long list of employees that performed various
tasks assigned by the former Public Works Director Dale
All of this work was being done
by whoever on any given day without a plan. I believe
it could be managed better, said Sager.
We put together what we believe
is a good organizational plan to manage the resources
we have available in order to provide the absolute best
services public works can for the people in this county.
The first section under the new public
works umbrella is the road and bridge maintenance section,
managed by Bryan Berthiaume.
The transportation section will be responsible
for maintenance of approximately 250 miles of public roadways
in the unincorporated portion of the county that dont
reside in a special road district, as well as maintenance
of all bridges in the county not located on state highways
and that dont reside inside cities with populations
greater than 5,000. They will also perform winter maintenance
on all aforementioned roads and bridges and will install
and maintain road signs in District #1.
The first sign I had (for the change
in the department) was during a routine maintenance of
roads and bridges throughout the county, where I realized
that it was not being managed well, he said.
The roads master plan added to the
problem that routine maintenance wasnt being done.
We put our focus onto many things besides roads and bridge
maintenance for too long and we fell behind. I dont
believe we had a good road and bridge maintenance plan.
As a part of Sagers new reorganization
the department will feature less staff positions, without
firing or laying off any current employees.
There wont be official layoffs
or firings. I told them that some of you -a few- wont
be here by February, but not because were firing
anybody. As we build our team, some people will simply
realize this is not the right situation for them to grow
and prosper in and thats okay, said Sager.
Currently, public works has a staff of
24 full-time and a few part-time employees, with the new
reorganization the department will have 23 full and part-time
employees, including the creation of a new section chief
for capital improvements and project engineer.
It means the road and bridge maintenance
section will be a lean, efficient section of this department.
The road and bridge maintenance section will no longer
be performing capital improvement projects for example
construction of new roads, major bridge repairs or other
large projects, stated Sager.
They will be the stewards of county
roads trying to make sure the roads dont fall into
a state of disrepair. They will try and get those back
up to an acceptable standard.
Sager hopes that will now change with
the separation of duties into various sections in the
(These changes will provide citizens)
a better quality of work and a more efficient use of taxpayer
dollars, he said.
The second major change underneath the
reorganization, involves the appointment of current Director
of Planning and Zoning Aaron Schmidt as section chief
of the Capital Improvements Section.
Aarons focus for the last
several years has been on building Kansas City roads within
the sales tax program, said Plunkett. Because
the road sales tax projects are considered to be capital
improvement projects, we simply felt that public works
was better suited to handle that as a program rather than
Planning and Zoning.
Schmidt will move out to public works
around the first of the year, while current Assistant
Director of Planning and Zoning Daniel Erickson will replace
Schmidt as the planning and zoning director.
I think this is good for me and
a good thing for planning and zoning, said Schmidt.
Its a good thing for me to be able to concentrate
on these road projects because thats where I spend
a majority of my time and its not fair for planning
and zoning or for the road projects. It makes more sense
for me to be doing this and Im excited to be doing
this full time.
Sager said he introduced Schmidt as the
new section chief to the new capital improvements section
on Nov. 2 at the public works department conference.
I believe Aaron Schmidt has the
capabilities of providing proven leadership to the new
capital improvement section and staff, stated Sager.
This is a huge commitment and show of support by
the county commission toward our countys civil infrastructure
and Ive enjoyed working with Aaron in the past and
look forward to working with him in this new role.
The new capital improvement section will
be implemented over the winter months and prior to the
start of the new construction season, according to Sager.
The construction division is responsible
for all capital improvements or major maintenance projects
for Platte County including major road re-construction,
roads master plan, bridge replacement, bridge major repairs,
storm water control and county CIPs.
Erickson said he is excited about his
new role in the Planning and Zoning Department come the
first of the year.
I look forward to serving Platte
County as Director of Planning and Zoning beginning January
1. I hope to continue the good work that Aaron Schmidt
has done as director of planning and zoning over the past
seven years, said Erickson.
Schmidt said he knows Erickson will be
successful in his new position.
Im excited for Daniel to be
filling this role. Im very confident he will continue
to do an outstanding job.
Finally, Sager identified the last two
sections under the new Public Works.
The Fleet Maintenance Section will be
supervised by Robert Wohletz and the Administrative Section
which will be managed by Brenda Adkison.
Fleet Maintenance will oversee the county
garage which is responsible for maintaining and repairing
approximately 475 vehicles and equipment that are used
by various county departments. They will also hold the
responsibility of keeping the Emergency Equipment ready
for service, as well as road maintenance and repair equipment.