PORTER | Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer told Town Council members she and her staff were treated abusively by a number of Porter residents during the recent heavy snows.
She said some 18 to 20 inches of snow fell in the town during last week’s storm with her crew working 880 regular hours and 340 overtime hours in addition to Brueckheimer’s 62 hours, but the behavior of some residents prompted requests that police get involved.
“It was a rough couple of weeks and those plow drivers did not deserve the language, hand gestures, throwing snow at the drivers, and threats that were made, so it was good that the Police Department had our backs,” she said.
Brueckheimer said Tuesday many other residents were supportive and even brought cookies to recharge the staff.
“I was amazed at the camaraderie but I can’t understand why 'state of emergency' was not understood. Help each other shovel sidewalks and mailboxes and please have some patience with us. We all love our jobs and we love this town,” she said.
“Please make sure you know that if you have to arrest citizens, you will get no backlash from residents as long as this council is here," newly-elected Council President Greg Stinson told Police Chief Jamie Spanier. "These people in those trucks were risking their lives so emergency vehicles could get down the road. No town employee should have to endure the kind of abuse they did.”
Stinson said a message to town residents was sent out using the emergency phone system advising of weather hazards. Brueckheimer said her employees were even clearing sidewalks and mailboxes when not required to do so.
The council also reorganized executive members, unanimously electing Stinson as well as Jeannine Virtue as vice president.
All department heads were reinstated in their roles and council liaisons selected were Stinson to Town Hall, Rob Pomeroy to the Police Department, Elka Nelson to the parks department, Jeannine Virtue to public works, and David Wodrich to the Fire Department.
Appointed to board openings were Stinson, Joe Semanski, Eric Wagner, Virtue and Pomeroy to the Redevelopment Commission; Wodrich, Wagner and Jim Erickson to the Plan Commission; Mark Link to the Police Commission; Henry Jay Huyser to BZA and Erickson to the Stormwater Board.
The park board advisory committee will begin organizing in February, said Nelson. She encouraged residents to come forward with their suggestions to her as park liaison or to parks officials.