The first official Saratoga Springs City Council meeting of the new year was uncharacteristically calm, void of any major debates and with minor business taken care of. In recent months, the public comment period has been riddled with disgruntlement and overall dissatisfaction with Spa City government, but at the Tuesday, Jan. 5 meeting, the only public comment was a generous offer to help with any gaps in the public works or public safety departments that arise due to recent layoffsshoveling, salting, traffic control, etc.
The issue that attracted the most discussion was an item regarding a temporary change to the Fleet Safety Policy, put forth by Commissioner of Accounts John Franck. He said the Fire Department wanted to temporarily remove the requirement that requires two firefighters to operate a vehicle at any time, saying recent layoffs have made this virtually impossible.
This would only be temporary removal and contingent upon further review by the safety committee," said Franck.
Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Scirocco said he would support the motion but sparked a nearly 20 minute discussion surrounding a similar problem within his own department. Currently, the Fleet Safety Policy requires two employees to operate large city dump trucks during snow removal activities. The change was made to cut back on insurance issues and noncompliance by city employees. Scirocco said he no longer has enough manpower to do this and said the policy wording should be changed to fit his needs as well.
"I don't have the people to put in these trucks," said Scirocco. "You just shut down the whole Public Works Department. You shut it down."
Franck was uncomfortable considering Scirocco's request at the Tuesday meeting because Marilyn Rivers, director of Risk and Safety for the city, who would handle such changes was in the hospital for knee surgery. He suggested Scirocco attend the next meeting of the Fleet Safety Committee and voice his concerns there.