Shortage of Drivers Affecting Trash and Recycling Pickup
The Town of Silver City's Public Works and Utilities departments are struggling to find enough qualified CDL-certified drivers for garbage and recycling pick-up, as well as for operating certain air-brake vehicles used in managing town utility services. As a result, some residents may have experienced service delays or problems that town staff are working hard to correct.
Peter Peña, director of the town's public works department, explained that the town has been trying for several months to fill three vacancies for streets and sanitation workers with commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) which are required for driving large vehicles with air brakes, but not enough people are applying. Applicants must also meet the minimum requirements outlined in the job description, and be able to pass standard alcohol and drug tests. Entry-level CDL drivers earn between $20,000 and $22,800 annually, depending on experience. The town's benefit package adds an additional 40 percent, according to Celia Dominguez, personnel officer.
Compounding the hiring challenge, four drivers are new to the department in the past six months, one of whom is from out of town and needs time to learn town streets and service routes. Equipment breakdowns have also exacerbated the problem, Peña said.
"We're asking residents to please be a little extra patient right now as we work to correct these problems," he said. "Fixing this starts with me, and we know this reflects on all of us. Everyone is working very hard to resolve this situation and improve service for our residents."
Garbage and recycling pick-up routes are nearly the same, and drivers are expected to be able to manage both, explained Peña. As new drivers gain more experience and confidence, he expects that service will improve and return to the expected level of quality and consistency. "Perfection is impossible, but what we strive for is consistency."
Residents who experience missed pick-ups or other issues are asked to please contact Patricia Pino, public works administrative assistant, at (575) 388-4640. Job applicants may apply in person at City Hall, 101 W. Broadway Street, or by emailing a completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org
. For more employment information, visit www.townofsilvercity.org, or contact Celia Dominguez at (575) 534-6359.