Last week the Plymouth Board of Public Works and Safety heard the request from Utility Superintendent Donnie Davidson for a new employee in the Water Department. 

Davidson explained his reasoning for the need and told the board that since he began overseeing the Water Department 12 years ago they have operated with the same number of employees.  In that time the city constructed a completely new water plant and added many other items associated with the Water Department. 

He has a maintenance supervisor, which is a one-man show who has been taking care of everything for the last 10 years but he’s in his mid-50s and Davidson is worried about burnout.  Davidson said maintenance requires a very skilled person and it’s difficult to pull an employee from their regular job to learn the maintenance issues. 

Davidson told the Board of Public Works and Safety that the maintenance supervisor had done a fantastic job but the department is starting to fall behind on the presentative maintenance, not from any lack of effort. 

Davidson said the preventative maintenance program goes into the asset management plan.  A certified asset management plan is required to be eligible for any state-revolving loan funding.  He said once the department gets into the lead service replacement program that would be the main source of funding.  Davidson said it could be millions of dollars for replacements. 

The Utility Superintendent said, “As far as our service lines, we have very few complete lead service lines but we do have small sections of lead that will need to be replaced.  It will be very expensive.” 

Going back to the new employee, Davidson wants to hire an employee dedicated to maintenance who can be trained and assist with preventative maintenance.  He said this would allow the current maintenance supervisor to dedicate time to specific projects which he hasn’t been able to do for the past couple of years.

Davidson touted the skills of the current maintenance supervisor and said they can do a lot of work in-house because he is a skilled fabricator where many water departments contract out the work, he allows us to do the work in-house. 

Davidson said he believes he can save the city money doing this.

Board of Works member Don Ecker said he’s had a lengthy conversation with Davidson on the request but wanted to know if it will require a new job description. 

Davidson said there are four maintenance job descriptions and depending on their skills, this new employee would fit into one of them.   

Ecker said the city’s in a great position because of the preventative maintenance that has happened over the years.  He then motioned to support the request to hire a new employee for the Plymouth Water Department.  His motion was seconded by Shiloh Milner.

Councilman Duane Culp asked about the additional funds needed for a new employee’s salary and benefits and Davidson said he’s spoken with the Clerk-Treasurer, and she is OK with it and speaking with the city’s financial consultant Baker Tilly, they said with cash on hand and the department’s financial situation they can handle the additional cost.

The approval unanimously passed.