I am not opposed to different city departments cross training. I have often said that cross training between two departments would be beneficial to taxpayers;

With the increased workload, Public Works has put out the call for additional assistance. One who answered that call is Sioux Falls Master Firefighter Tim Schons.

“We received notice from Public Works that they were in need of individuals to help out their crews, just man-power wise,” Schons said. He chose to sign up to lend a hand.

Besides the obvious question, ‘If a firefighter has time to fill potholes you wonder if they have enough to do?’ OR ‘Why haven’t we been using the fire department for extra street work to begin with?’

But what I found interesting is this;

The main reason for Schons’ decision to sign up was a feeling of civic duty. “We are paid of course for working, but it is volunteer,” he said. “Public Works and the rest of the entities in the city help us during emergencies — well now they are in need of help and this gives us the opportunity to kind of return the favor — the ultimate goal is to help out the citizens.”

Yes they are, if you look at the city salary data for 2023 you will see that temporary service employees for the street department make around $20 an hour which is decent pay if you are pulling 40 hours a week. Mr. Schon makes around $75K a year which equals about $36 a hour. If I were Mr. Schon I wouldn’t mention that to the other guys at coffee break.

I also wonder what the Firefighters Union thinks of this?

Maybe the city should recruit some engineers to fill potholes, I heard they are not really busy these days.

24 Thoughts on “City of Sioux Falls using firefighters to fill potholes

  1. D@ily Spin on March 23, 2023 at 9:28 am said:

    Praise be to Firefighters. The reason not to use them for other city functions is readiness. Maybe they had no calls during a shift but they must be ready reserve. They clean equipment and exercise for when they get a call. Some are good cooks for the crew.

    Where do you go if there’s an emergency or crime? A fire station. There must always (at all times) be someone there.

    Filling potholes must be voluntary and only when there’s to much work for street workers. I’m sure firefighters see it as an opportunity to get out into the community and get exercise at the same time. Perhaps a commoradory develops with other city workers and locals.

  2. Very Stable Genius on March 23, 2023 at 11:18 am said:

    I’m with DS.

  3. "Woodstock" on March 23, 2023 at 11:19 am said:

    “I remember when Mayor Dave used to fill potholes….. So when is Mayor….. “

  4. Steve on March 23, 2023 at 1:33 pm said:

    I have never heard of anyone as dedicated as you to find something to complain about.

  5. l3wis on March 23, 2023 at 2:02 pm said:

    Steve, once again you read what you want to. I think I was very clear from the beginning that I think city employees should work in other departments, like the Police and Fire or Public works and the Parks department. But to take a firefighter who makes almost double of what the pothole crew is making is silly and a waste of his resources, that is my point.

  6. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on March 23, 2023 at 2:11 pm said:

    I think the Mayor and city council members should be taught how to drive a snow plow. Although, some of them might fight over which Christian plow they get to drive, however…. #OriginalSin

  7. scott on March 23, 2023 at 3:56 pm said:

    shouldn’t pth be asking the citizens to fill their own potholes, like he does when there’s storm damage?

  8. Scott D Hudson on March 23, 2023 at 6:09 pm said:

    Well, scott with a small “s”, PTH seems to believe that anyone not living on a major street should do their own street snow removal.

  9. "Woodstock" on March 23, 2023 at 7:22 pm said:

    “Say, what if a pothole is found on the other side of the ‘Red Line’?”….

  10. Further Fear & Loathing on March 23, 2023 at 7:33 pm said:

    I guess ‘Potholes’ is the title of Stephen Kings next book. Where a young couple is chased by the car from King’s other book, ‘Christine’, and then they end up falling into a pothole portal, which is the abyss to a world of no input, higher taxes, rising crime, FB Lives projected on large screens where you are forced to watch them, and cement paradises… No, what a minute, there’s got to be more to it than that, that sounds too much like reality. People would be bored with such a plot… AND, come to think of it, Christine involved a ’58 Plymouth Fury, too… Oh, never mind, Neitzert’s is a ’57… Silly me….

  11. Fearing the Fuhrer & More on March 23, 2023 at 7:41 pm said:
  12. Firefighters pay is based on a 53 hour work week, not 40 hours, so his hourly pay would be around $27.21 BUT when city employees work for other departments, it’s additional hours, so it’s all overtime (same as when they use other department employees to plow streets).

    So for his “civic duty” he’ll be making around $40.82 an hour.

    It’s cheaper to hire temp employees but they don’t care about saving taxpayer money, it’s easier to get existing employees to do it for the OT.

  13. Ain't no hole to big on March 24, 2023 at 7:38 am said:

    This blog absolutely shows your ignorance to life in general. Firefighters aren’t filing potholes during their shift times it’s on their days off. Also I know there have been other departments help out too like water purification engineers. Maybe you should get it if your moms basement and apply for a job with the city. I hear they have openings.

  14. Keep firefighters in mind when we need lifeguards this summer!

  15. l3wis on March 24, 2023 at 9:52 am said:

    One of the reasons I posted this is to start the discussion because obviously our media in town is NOT. Our media in town is like the drunk guy who stumbles home from the bar, puts a Totinos in the oven and passes out. In other words they know how to start a story, just not how to end it. I appreciate the info provided by commenters. This is not about pay, the city has well over $50 million in reserve. If we had the labor force they could hire 100 temps next week and the potholes would be gone by August. This is about the stability of our city employees. You can’t on one hand bitch about retention then on the other hand force or ask city employees to constantly be working OT because we had a bad winter. There should have been a long term or even short term plan put together last Summer to combat snow removal and pothole filling ‘in case’ we had a bad winter. We can continue to ignore climate change and we can continue to ignore labor shortages, but these problems don’t go away by ignoring them or keeping them a secret.

  16. l3wis on March 24, 2023 at 9:55 am said:

    Oh, and BTW, I left home one week before my HS graduation and have never looked back. I’m not even sure what my Mom’s basement looks like, but I am sure it is filled with unfinished quilts and sheep nick nacks.

  17. D@ily Spin on March 26, 2023 at 10:24 pm said:

    I was transported by Ambulance last Friday to Avera. The crew apologized for the travel time. It’s sad and life threatening when PTH potholes require emergency vehicles to travel at school zone speeds. It’s expensive but next time I’ll insist on a helicopter.

    Firefighters fix roads to be sure they can get to work and get to fire calls. They want to save the city from burning down. They’re heroes.

  18. D@ily Spin on March 27, 2023 at 10:21 am said:

    Is PTH an acronym for Potholes?

  19. anominous on March 27, 2023 at 12:46 pm said:

    there are potholes on 21st st between phillips and 2nd that are inexcusably deep.

  20. Climate change on March 28, 2023 at 9:24 am said:

    Ignoring Climate Change? The climate has been changing for millions of years, how can we ignore it? We can’t. But to think we have the power to even move the needle a little is plain stupid.

  21. anominous on March 29, 2023 at 9:53 am said:

    what they could do is find the 3 laziest guys in the street dept and have them go out, one guy fills the hole halfway and takes a break, then the next guy fills whats left half way and takes a rest, then the last and laziest fills whats left half way and takes 5, then that way most any hole left would be driveable dont let perfect be the enemy of the good i say

  22. It’s no wonder the street department can’t get the potholes filled. One of the local news stations should follow a street crew around undercover.

    Talking to a previous temp employee:

    1. They take 20-30 minute breaks at gas stations.

    2. When there is an hour to an hour and a half left in their shifts, they just drive around until it’s time to head back to the shop because it’s “too late to start a new project”.

    3. They have to go back to the shop because some piece of equipment “malfunctioned” or the truck was making a “noise”.

  23. i12doit on March 31, 2023 at 7:48 pm said:

    Wonder if any on the SFPD will be as motivated as the hoser to help out the city (In their time of need)?

  24. Climate Chlamydia on April 1, 2023 at 12:42 pm said:

    But what if man made efforts are helping to move the needle? If you take the foot off the pedal it actually slows down and putting on the brake helps, too.

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