Jenks Public Works keeps city operating amid Coronavirus situation
While the Jenks Police and Fire Departments work hard to keep the community safe, they are not the only first responders having to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Jenks Public Works Department is working around the clock to ensure the City of Jenks is operating smoothly and functioning the way it should.
The department has had to modify some of its operations to cope with the Coronavirus outbreak, but for the most part, it is business as usual.
There are two teams that work daily split shifts. The first team goes out at 7 a.m. and works until 4 p.m. and the second team starts at 8:30 a.m. and works until 5:30 p.m.
“The goal with the split shift operation is to make sure we don’t have more than 10 people working at once,” Jenks Public Works Director Tim Doyle said. “We are doing pretty well right now. We have adapted to ensure we and the public are safe, and we are continuing to make sure we are taking care of the critical infrastructure needs of our city.”
Doyle also said with the amount of people being forced to stay home the amount of work orders has rapidly increased.
Some of the modifications that have been made to the Public Works Department outside of the split shift operations are each employee is required to wear masks while on the job and if a Public Works vehicle has more than one person inside, the windows must be open.
Assistant City Manager Robert Carr said the Public Works workers must maintain social distancing while on the job and that normal duties are still being done.
“Road repairs, water leaks, mowing and other usual duties are being completed,” Carr said. “We are still completing projects that we had planned to do. We started underground draining repair and work on South Harvard Avenue between 131st and 141st last week, so we are in the middle of that project.”
Renae Ostrum, who is the wife of Jenks Fire Chief Greg Ostrum, is the Administrative Assistant for the Jenks Public Works Department and according to Doyle, has been working hard to make sure the Public Works jobs are getting done.
“Renae has done an amazing job for us,” Doyle said. “She is working from home, but we made it to where each call that comes into Public Works goes to her and she gives us all the information we need for the job and we go do it. She comes in every morning at 6:30 to get any and all the information she needs that day to work from home.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, there can be a lot of uneasiness, but Carr said he believes the Public Works employees are handling everything as well they can.
“The moral on the staff has been positive,” Carr said. “Of course, the stress of the situation sets in from time to time, but the staff has done a great job and handled it well.”