ASK ANN

"Okay, you got my attention. I've been seeing the ads in the Reporter saying "Take me to the next level." What's this all about? I don't want to miss a free trip to someplace great."

You most certainly don't want to miss this, particularly if you are a public fleet or ground maintenance professional. The "Take me to the next level" campaign was the tag line to introduce everyone to the new certification programs APWA launched in September. The first is the Certified Public Fleet Professional which is designed for the seasoned, career local government public fleet manager and others with experience in the field who are interested in earning a credential that will promote a career in public fleet management. Applications are available and the first exam will be held April 27, 2007 in St. Paul, MN at the North American Snow Conference. The second program is the Certified Public Grounds Maintenance Manager which is offered jointly by APWA and Public Grounds Management Association. For detailed information and applications, visit our website at www.apwa.net/certification or contact Becky Stein, Certification Manager, at bstein@apwa.net. Don't miss the opportunity to move on up in the world!

"We can't seem to attract qualified applicants for several environmental technician positions in our Environmental Services Department. It seems like no one wants to work in these areas. Any ideas about how we might attract new hires?"

Boy, have I got a deal for you! The City of Tucson, AZ was awarded a $200,000 Environmental Agency (EPA) Brownfields Job Training Grant which allows them to provide free training for 40 individuals as environmental technicians. Staff in the Environmental Services Department decided to develop a 26-week job training program with a customized curriculum and job placement assistance which includes classroom training in a large number of environmental areas, an 18-month mentoring program, and the likelihood of permanent employment at the successful completion of the program. Tucson staff say the program is working very well. For a complete rundown on the program contact the City of Tucson Environmental Services at www.tucsonaz.gov/ets. Many industries have found the best way to hire the quality employees you need is to train them in what you need them to do. This could be a great template for other agencies to develop.

"We are looking for an educational program for our residents that helps them understand how they can use the water resources we have more efficiently and cost effectively. Does anyone have a program you could suggest?"

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed a new water efficiency program that is designed to educate American consumers on making smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. The WaterSense program aims to raise awareness about the importance of water efficiency, ensure the performance of water-efficient products and provide good consumer information. The WaterSense label will be easily identified on products and services and goods that perform at least 20 percent more efficiently than their less efficient counterparts. For more information about the WaterSense water efficiency program check out their website at www.epa.gov/watersense.

"Do you know if there are now surface coatings that can be applied that make it easier to remove or deal with graffiti? We have used one in the past that sacrificed a little of itself each time graffiti was removed, eventually requiring reapplication." Larry Waters, Public Works Director, Mountlake Terrace, WA

From the product catalogs and flyers that hit my desk each week, I'm sure there are numerous products now available that might meet your specifications. However, since I haven't had direct experience with these products, I don't feel comfortable talking about them. So—if anyone out there in APWAland has used products that might work for Larry, please send him the information directly at lwaters@ci.mlt.wa.us. Your input will be helpful, I'm sure.

"The City of Jackson, MO is interested in contracting out all of its public utility locates, in lieu of each department (water, sewer and electric) doing their own. Can you tell me if you know of any municipality that has already done this and, if so, could you provide their contact information?" Rodney Bollinger, City of Jackson, MO

Good question, Rodney. I'm afraid I don't have an answer but, hopefully, some of our readers will have one for you. If you can provide Rodney with some solid information, please contact him directly at rodneyb01@sbcglobal.net. Guess I've never been in an agency that had enough growth or redevelopment going on at the same time that it required that many locates. Surely someone else has and can help you out.

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625

Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net