'24-hour department' How Indy DPW could change in 2020

Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 18:02:01-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Looking to increase the amount of time crews are fixing streets, and decrease the amount of overtime paid, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works is looking to add a second shift in 2020.

DPW director Dan Parker discussed the potential change as he announced the 2020 budget proposal for the agency Thursday night at the City-County Council Public Works Committee.

There are currently about 100 employees working Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., not including snow shifts during the winter.

But DPW wants to increase that number to 160 employees total, with 60 working the new shift from 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

“We are a 24-hour city,” Parker said Thursday. “We need to become more of a 24-hour department.”

The shift addition could also help cut down on overtime costs, which accounted for more than 93,000 hours for DPW last year. Those overtime hours cost the department $2,869,810 last year. Parker said 61% of the overtime hours would fall between the regular hours of the proposed shifts.

Steven Quick, the AFSCME representative for DPW employees, said the union supports the new shift plans. He said DPW is a public safety agency and needs to be responsive to 24-hour needs.

“This also gives employees some relief where they can spend some time with their families,” Quick said.

If approved, this would be the first time DPW has had more than one shift in modern Indianapolis history, Quick said.

Overall, DPW requested $8 million more in 2020 than what was allocated in 2019 – 179,111,712 to 171,036,189. That extra $8 million would go toward 25 new positions, $1.6 million for new solid waste division equipment and money for street sweepers, infrastructure improvements and pool renovations.

The City-County Council will vote on the proposed budget in October.