Temporary employees hired to prevent leaf pickup privatization

BUCHANAN — Buchanan city officials needed to hire seasonal workers or else use a private company to provide leaf pickup services, according to the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium.

The city typically hires seasonal labor to help full-time staff with leaf removal, but some council members wanted to explore contracting to save money, according to Assistant City Manager Joe Vander Meulen. However, council members voted to stick with seasonal labor this year.

Temporary employees are paid $8 per hour for seven weeks of work as needed. They are also eligible for unemployment compensation at the end of their term.

An analysis performed by Vander Meulen showed that contracting out for this service could have saved the city an estimated 14 percent in providing the service for this year. It would also free public works employees to provide other services around the city, such as maintaining parks, repairing signs and more street sweeping, according to Vander Meulen.

Reference: St. Joseph Herald-Palladium, "Privatizing city leaf pickup is off the table," Oct. 10, 2007