The following message was sent to school districts, fire districts, municipal, and other government agencies within Whatcom County on Oct. 12, 2021.
Dear School/Government Official or Service Provider,
As we move into our second fall and winter with the Covid-19 pandemic, I am writing to notify you that continuing virus-related impacts and staffing shortages could affect the Whatcom County Public Works Department’s response during winter storms.
Normally the department would have 52 trained CDL drivers for emergency work - including snow plow operations. Right now there are only 27 employees with sufficient training and licenses.
I am asking you to prepare and make contingencies in the event that we are unable to respond to winter conditions and provide the service levels that have been maintained in the past. We are doing everything we can do to prepare, hire, and train our workforce as fast as we safely can. The significant staffing and training impacts we are experiencing will bring the department to the very edge of our service capability for snow and ice removal and storm response.
I understand that you may have questions about these issues and our limited service capacity. Please contact Roland Middleton, Public Works Special Programs Manager, at 360-778-6212 or RMiddlet@co.whatcom.wa.us.
Thank you in advance for your support and cooperation as we move into the 2021-2022 winter storm season.
Yours in service,
Jon Hutchings, DirectorWhatcom County Public Works Department
View this letter as a PDF document