Boots & Sabers

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0657, 10 Aug 16

Technology Eliminating Government Jobs

The City of West Bend is reducing its costs and headcount.

City officials purchased trucks with a mechanical lever arm that drivers can maneuver to grab cans from curbs and empty them into a storage area on the vehicle. Prior to the purchase, additional staff was required to perform the same work.

Neumann sent a memo to acting City Administrator Amy Reuteman stating the upgraded trucks reduced the number of required employees from seven to three. Having anticipated the upgrade, city administrators cut a position in the department.

You always hate to see people lose their jobs. Hopefully these folks can be repurposed elsewhere. I don’t have the cost of the new trucks at my fingertips, but I remember that the ROI when they purchased them was pretty strong. Still, it’s good to see government actually being reduced for once.


0657, 10 August 2016


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Attrition is mostly how things like this get done in government.   If someone quits or retires, always the least painful to “reorganize” jobs like this at that point.

    Interesting that West Bend still picks up it’s own garbage.   Private contractors doing this is also an excellent option for municipalities, especially smaller municipalities.


  2. Kraig Sadownikow

    The article was poorly written and significantly inaccurate.

    No one lost their job due to the mechanized refuse collection, nobody.  We had an open positon that was not filled.  When the second truck comes online, the same process will be used.

    It is very typical to have several openings per year within the streets and sanitation department due to promotions, job changes, etc.

    Along with being financially positive, the mechanized system is much safer for employees.  No longer is City staff handling 9,000+ garbage cans per week.  Additionally once the 2nd vehicle is online we will be completing refuse collection in a shorter amount of time, with less staff.  This frees up personnel to perform other City duties.

    West Bend outsources recycling collections and has for some time.  The balancing act with refuse collection is that these employees and others with the PW Dept make up the bulk of our snow removal forces.

    We are always looking to institute change that has a positive impact on finances, service and safety.  Mechanized refuse collection is a great example of using modern technology to impact all 3 of these areas.

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