Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Storms improve public works
|Storms improve public works|
Improvements in the way the Franklin Parish Public Works Department does business are expected to be byproducts of the parish's recovery effort from hurricane winds and rains.
Working with an outside contractor and at the direction of the Franklin Parish Police Jury, the department is blending citizens complaints, emergency calls and regular maintenance needs into a computer-aided system of planning and control.
"A lot more work's going to get done,' said Bob Mears of RAM Quality Assurance, of the expected end results. Mears heads the firm hired by the Police Jury to help improve a system of scheduling public works projects.
Mears said record keeping for cost recovery in parish disasters prompted the improvements.
"You've got to be very precise in documenting all your applications to FEMA for refunds or reimbursement," Mears said.
"They want to see not only your reports, but the raw data that you used to generate those reports," he said.
The fiscal need for documentation and more precise record keeping led to the realization that better planning and work scheduling could help fill that need, according to Police Jury President Harvey Ray Guimbellot.
"We're both designing and installing as we go along," said Mears of progress.
As it works now, a non-emergency call to the police jury is logged with a department foreman doing an on site inspection of the call. The foreman completes a report which becomes an item for a regular Thursday planning meeting. The citizens complaint--unless an emergency--is then scheduled to be addressed by the proper work crew.
The system has been in place for little over two weeks, according to Superintendent Greg Humphries, who has spearheaded the parish reimbursement record keeping effort since the floods of 2006.
The Jury has relied on public complaints and suggestions to stay on top of the emergency and maintenance needs of road, bridges and drainage systems. Having an electronic listing helps keep the public's complaint in view.
"Once it's in the system, it can't be lost, it can't be forgotten," said Mears.
"That's been part of the problem. Without a single person to complain to, sometimes a citizen's call would be forgotten, or go to the wrong person," he added.
Although emergencies always receive top priority, "usually the calls go on the list as they are received, In other words, first come, first served," Mears continued.
"Another benefit is the scheduling of work," Mears said. "When employees come to work, they'll always have a list of things scheduled for that day which should lead to improvements in job performance."
While overall improvements are expected, both Mears and Humphries said parish residents should not expect to see immediate changes.
"It won't happen overnight,' Mears said. "It involves improving communications inside and outside the department."