Snowplow drivers: Milwaukee lacks enough qualified drivers for season

The changing of the seasons means sooner or later snow will once again be on the ground. But Milwaukee city leaders are concerned there might not be enough plow drivers to clear the snow. 

"That scares the hell out of me, what you guys talked about last time, that we may have trucks and no drivers," said Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman.

Alderman Bauman was unsettled on Friday, Oct. 22 over a looming scenario for Milwaukee.

"Two years ago, we had a snowstorm on Halloween if I am not mistaken -- and that’s next week," Bauman said.

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman

Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman

This week, Milwaukee city leaders and the Department of Public Works (DPW) discussed a concerning shortage of qualified and licensed salt and snowplow drivers.

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"It’s a problem more than the city of Milwaukee; this is a problem a lot of people are struggling with," said DPW Commissioner Jeff Polenske.

The nationwide labor shortage is affecting positions at all levels – including crucial services.

"We do have a challenge ahead of us," Polenske said.

DPW officials say there are approximately 85 vacant positions. It is a mix of workers who drive plows and those who work on the vehicles.

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"What’s the plan? Are we looking at salary adjustments? Are we looking at bonuses? Are we looking at what? What? Are we just hoping and praying people just start flooding our application box," Bauman said.

The DPW director of operations said everything is being done to attract qualified candidates. She said there are other plans in place if the worst should happen.


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