Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Posted 6/9/21

Incentives offered to Road and Bridge


Favorable weather had the department’s gravel trucks up and running but not as many as there were enough drivers to man them. “We’ve got a …

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021


Incentives offered to Road and Bridge
Favorable weather had the department’s gravel trucks up and running but not as many as there were enough drivers to man them. “We’ve got a lot of roads, a lot of rock, and no drivers,” Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker lamented.
In response to the manpower shortage at the department, Kempker and commissioners changed course from all-out recruiting to cross-training and retention incentives. Effective immediately, staff positions were reduced from 12 to 10 full-time employees. Each of the operators now on staff received a $2 per hour raise but every one of them must now be trained to drive or operate any machine in the yard. That includes graders, trucks, tractors, and weed-whippers. The strategy includes the eventual reduction of one road grader and a dump truck.
There are still two full-time positions open, and “we’re begging for help,” said Kempker. His immediate hope, though, is to lose no more of the remaining staff. Meanwhile, versatility may help mitigate emergencies. Recruiting continues and will hopefully be more successful.
“We’re pretty much in the ballpark for money with the people we have left,” added Griffin.
Kempker reported blocks for the foundation of a new materials shed had been placed. He displayed a photo of the construction to the commissioners. The rental equipment required arrived the next day. The structure was completed on June 3. The balance due of $6,693.75 was approved and paid.
Osage County Western District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes reported the warning buoys were in place in the Maries River at the site of the Pentecostal Bridge collapse well before the Memorial Day weekend. No incidents were reported by canoe and kayak recreational users. He urged the Osage County Sheriff’s Office and Road and Bridge Department to calculate all overtime and diversion costs to add to the bill which Stutsman Trucking Co. should have to pay. “There was quite a bit of overtime,” Kempker understated.
Commissioners hired Chris Rackers, Attorney at Schriemann, Rackers, Francka, & Blunt, LLC, Jefferson City, to pursue better results in the ongoing negotiations over the wreck of the Pentecostal Bridge on CR 611, east of Westphalia. Commissioners remain very dissatisfied with the pace of communication, let alone inaction, from Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., Hills, Iowa, the company whose driver collapsed the structure. Rackers requested pictures — the older the better — of the bridge from citizens. Those with such photos should contact their district commissioner.
Department employees hauled rock on CRs 506, 605, and 621; crew members performed service on Grader 302; crews replaced a culvert on CR 506; and grader operators worked on CRs 202, 203, 274A, 301, 311, 312, 432, 435, 522, 527, 612, 613B, 631, 633, 723, and 724.
Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham announced a blitz of stolen vehicles. “Every one of them had their keys in them,” he commented.
One was located in St. Genevieve, which enforced his belief the crimes originated with perpetrators from out of town.
Purple Wave Auction House was scheduled to take pictures of the Dodge Chargers being retired from county service.
Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy presented a proposal from a company in Jefferson City to power-wash the landing on the west side of the Annex and to wash the building’s windows. The wood decking on the landing needs to be resealed, as it hasn’t been done in 12 years. Commissioners promised to review the proposal. They asked Kennedy to get a price on separating the upper windows from those he can clean himself. The commission may also investigate a way to get the landing power washed by a local source. They might also use a machine from the Sheriff’s Office to have a county employee do it. The decking is Kennedy’s first concern. “That’s the big deal,” he asserted.
Commissioners asked Kennedy to get bushes and other vegetation cut and removed from around the antenna east of the Osage County Courthouse. The fence around that structure should be removed and replaced near the middle of June. Those plants must be out of the way for the contractor to work freely.
Commissioners approved an employee parking policy. It included registering and displaying permits, possible fines, procedures for reporting violations, and posting.


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