City of Springfield (Mo.) Public Grounds Faces Adversity

By Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Grounds Department Employs Zone-Maintenance ApproachPt. 3: Freeze in Hiring, Pay Increases Impacts Productivity

To say Joe Payne and his department have faced adversity recently would be an understatement. Payne, public works operations supervisor and manager of the city of Springfield (Mo.) Public Grounds department, has endured myriad challenges over the last four years, including the wrath of Mother Nature and a downtrodden economy.

First, a drought began in 2004 and hit its peak in 2006. A crippling ice storm in 2007 brought the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the city and wreaked havoc on landscaped areas, trees, and turf. Another ice storm hit in 2008, the same year the economy crumbled, resulting in a hiring freeze and a restructured approach to maintenance for Payne and his staff.

"It's been a rough four years now," Payne says.

Despite the hardships, Payne is positive about the direction of his department. Due to four frozen positions, Payne has restructured Public Grounds and changed his approach to ensure his staff can properly maintain the more than 1,400 acres of vegetation and 1,000 acres of roadside turf, as well as clean and maintain 1,000 curb miles of streets.

"We had been playing man-to-man defense," Payne says. "We had been assigning specific people to specific facilities. What we've had to do to respond to having less people and additional places to maintain is what I call a zone defense. We split the city up into areas. We're still in the process of organizing to fully implement that."

Continue Reading: Maintenance in the Zone: Overcoming Hardships

City of Springfield (Mo.) Public Grounds Faces Adversity

Grounds Department Employs Zone-Maintenance Approach

Freeze in Hiring, Pay Increases Impacts Productivity

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  posted on 3/1/2011   Article Use Policy

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