Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor,

I am responding to the letter about the sidewalks on Grand Avenue

I am a 7-year employee of the Department of Public Works.  Like the police and fire departments, and many businesses and employers in Wausau, we are facing staffing shortages, both in my department and our maintenance staff. To your question of why downtown is getting cleared first,  it is due to private contractors paid by the city for that purpose. 

As the fire department has not had a staffing increase since 1970, our department has actually decreased staff. Twenty years ago we had more than 50 workers and a full compliment of maintenance staff to repair all of our equipment. Over the years both services and staff have been cut and replaced with contractors to save on costs like health insurance and wages. 

While the city has grown in both street miles and sidewalks, the staff has been asked to do more with less. We are trying to do the best job we can with what we have. We ask for patience and some forgiveness, rather than ignorant statements without knowing all of the facts. 

City council has and is taking steps to try to improve the situation. Get your facts straight before making foolish statements, or grab a shovel and help out.

Jim Lentz