Binghamton Mayor in 'no rush' to fill open public works position - Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Binghamton Mayor in 'no rush' to fill open public works positions

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The positions of Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, the two highest ranking positions in the Department of Public Works, are posted on the City of Binghamton website and have been open for more than six months. 

Both positions have been posted since August of last year. 

According to the Binghamton Mayor's Office, Bernice St. Clair is Acting Commissioner of Public Works. She was previously Superintendent of Streets in the D.P.W. administration. She was appointed to run the department while the city continues to search for people to fill those vacancies. 

The following statement was provided to 12 News by the Mayor's Office regarding the open positions:

"It was not anticipated we would have a permanent hire prior to the November election, as it’s an appointed management position selected by the Mayor. We’re looking to find the right individuals and not rush to fill positions. There’s full confidence in Bernice St. Clair during this transition period and we are effectively working with the public works employees on the full scope of city services they provide. The positions remains posted and we continue to seek qualified applicants."

If you recall, after the relentless snow storm we had last March, Public Works Commissioner Terry Kellogg and Deputy Commissioner Jon Yeager were both fired. Mayor David said at the time the historic snowfall exposed long-term issues with the City's Public Works Department.

According to the City of Binghamton, the department overhaul on March 22, 2017 included, but was not limited to:

  • Reviewing the entire Public Works fleet, including number and type of heavy vehicles and equipment used in snow removal.
  • Workforce reviews, including the number of drivers, equipment operators and training programs.
  • Consultation with New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) on best snow plowing strategies, vehicles and training. The City will work with NYSDOT certified trainers and instructors to re-train City plow drivers.
  • Examine decades-old City ordinances regarding on-street parking rules and emergency snow protocols.
  • Change in management, as Mayor David has replaced current Public Works Commissioner Terry Kellogg and Deputy Commissioner Jon Yeager, effective immediately.

Parks Commissioner William Barber was appointed Commissioner of Public Works in March, immediately after the firings of Kellogg and Yeager, but according to the Parks Department, Barber hasn't been involved with D.P.W. since November 2017. 

"Bill Barber is Parks Commissioner. No formal role in D.P.W., but Parks has historically provided support to that department, going back many administrations. In the case of snow plowing, for example, Parks Dept. handles North Side and Downtown so there’s lots of coordination," the Mayor's Office said in a statement. 

12 News requested any and all memos and emails from Mayor Rich David regarding the D.P.W. during the last significant snowfall on January 12 through January 17. According to the City of Binghamton, no emails or memos matched our request, meaning there is no documented communication between the Mayor and the Department of Public Works. According to the Mayor's Office, Mayor David meets with people in person more often than using email. 

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