MoDOT puts hiring sign out for winter workers

The Missouri Department of Transportation always hires some part-time help for winter weather clean-up work, Don Hillis said Thursday.

“To my knowledge, we have not ever had the staff to be able to staff around the clock,” said Hillis, MoDOT’s assistant chief engineer, “and every year we hire temporary ‘emergency operators,’ and we put them on-call for when we have a snow.”

Hillis acknowledged the department’s current efforts to downsize its supervisory and middle-management positions by 19 percent could cause some public confusion that the “Bolder Five-Year Direction” plan had led to a need for more temporary workers.

As of Thursday, he said, the department had placed 260 emergency operators on the statewide call list. A year ago, it was 270.

“As you’ll recall, we talked about retaining the same number of boots-on-the-ground maintenance employees at the end of this (restructuring) process as we had when we started the process back in March 2010,” Hillis said.

“One of our highest attrition areas has been, historically and always probably will be, our maintenance area,” resulting in a current reduction of the full-time maintenance force.

But, Hillis said, that reduction still is part of the normal ebb-and-flow of maintenance employees, and MoDOT officials have every confidence they’ll return to full strength in those operations.

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