Welcome to Urban Management

April 20, 2011

With the advent of Monday morning, April 18th, came the first department meeting of the newly formed Urban Management Department. Department Head Ken Johnson welcomed all his new staff while introducing them to the remaining core staff left from the old horticulture division.

Mayor Bill Gillespie greeted everyone and said, "We, the City, really appreciate all you've done for all these years. We value that. The City is a service-oriented business and we need you guys to help us out. We can't perform those services without you."

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The Urban Management Department shown here with Human Resources Director Lisa Thrash (left),
Human Resources Administrator Caroll Ishman (next to Lisa) and Mayor Bill Gillespie (center).

In the past, crews from Leisure Services, Street, and Horticulture have crossed each other's paths within a day or maybe as little as a few hours. By combining these personnel into one department, the City is streamlining its property maintenance efforts. With the high cost of fuel, we are ever vigilant in finding cost-saving measures and becoming as efficient as we can be. For example, it used to take a small crew an entire week to maintain Oak Hill Cemetery. Urban Management finished that assignment in roughly 5 hours on Monday. Moving as a cohesive unit makes better sense and the results speak for themselves.

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Johnson outlined his hours of operation, which he touted as a motivation tool for his crews:

Monday-Thursday, 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Monday through Thursday, Urban Management will accentuate the City of Prattville with Spring and Summer plantings, grass cutting, litter collection, ditch maintenance, "passive" parks (those not containing ball fields), cemeteries, medians, and right-of-way maintenance in an effort to keep our community attractive. In the Fall and Winter months, employees will work to improve the aesthetics in passive parks, provide seasonal decorating services, and work in the greenhouse to produce plant material for the upcoming season.

Fridays will be utilized for equipment maintenance and addressing work order requests. Using half-day Fridays in this manner will have the department completely prepared to hit the ground running on Monday mornings.

The Autauga Crimson Clover has finally gone to seed. Mowing of medians and right-of-ways began on Tuesday morning and will now be on regular rotation.

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Crew morale has soared. Tasks that were previously daunting for small crews within multiple departments have become enjoyable and efficient for the large team moving as a purposeful unit within the Urban Management Department.

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