"When things go to hell," says sanitary sewers supervisor Dan Wooden, "I can grab guys, because we all work together. Like when we were plowing snow one day because they needed us to, and we found a twelve-inch water-main break on Packard. So I grabbed six guys and did the repairs, and we ended that day back on the plows."
That flexibility is a big part of how field operations has kept the city's infrastructure functioning even as its workforce shrank. "We're responsible for everything between the edge of one sidewalk to the other," says manager Craig Hupy. "We maintain the water and the sanitary sewers, the street trees, the street lights, the traffic control signals, and we do street maintenance and the fiber optics for some of our core services--network connectivity, email, and traffic signals. We maintain the parks and do all the mowing of parks and city grounds. And we do trash collection, residential and downtown."
Matt Warba, Hupy's assistant, oversaw the consolidation of field services over the last decade. With 124 FTEs, field services now handles most of the tasks formerly done by 380 people in four separate departments. How did they do it? "It came down to efficiencies," says Hupy. "Doing things better and smarter."