Speaking of changes, there’s been another over at Brookfield Public Works. The village administration will begin a search for the third public works director in two years after Kenneth Blaauw parted ways late last week.
Labor-management relations have been sour for at least the past year and played a role in the latest decision to move in a different direction. While those kinds of relationships are always never perfect, it’s telling that of the three union bargaining units representing village employees, public works was the only place where management appeared to be problematic.
That said, Blaauw had qualifications and experience that benefitted Brookfield, and we hope that the next public works director brings similar qualifications to the table.
Brookfield has some unique, tricky issues that are constants. The village’s alleys are a perennial source of frustration for residents. A change in the approach to alley maintenance in the past year looked like a possible way forward, but the jury is still out.
Perhaps the next public works director can put alleys at the top of the list of issues to confront. If a long-term campaign to pave the alleys is out of the question, then village leaders have got to find a solution where alleys don’t quickly devolve into lakes with gravel bottoms.
We’re also hoping employees can be open to new ways of approaching the maintenance of public roads, alleys and other public spaces. As much as police and fire personnel, the public works department has to work as a team to serve it’s real employers – the residents of Brookfield.