GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

December 19, 2012

City move chills Fuller workers

The public school’s transportation department is now operating in rooms without water and warmed solely by space heaters.

That’s because the city shut off heat to the majority of the building Monday and turned off the water flow Tuesday to about 50 working city employees, including the transportation manager Kathy Verga and a group of bus drivers and mechanics.

Those employees, in and out of the office on a daily basis and often training in another room and resting in a break room between shifts, are getting their warmth from four space heaters, and must walk about 350 feet down the hall to a bathroom still open in the portion of the building used by public school administrators.

Verga said the department’s present location within the Fuller school building has been ideal since they moved in two years ago, with plenty of room for storage of cleaning supplies and bus parts, a space for a break room for drivers, bathroom facilities for the drivers and staff, a safe area to park buses, and training space for mandatory sessions.

”This is the perfect space for us. It’s more than adequate,” said Verga.

The mayor’s office, however, decided to shut down the majority of the building in order to slash $150,000 to $200,000 in heating and water fees off a $300,000 annual bill, according to City Hall Chief of Staff James Duggan. Duggan said the city already relocated many of the departments that had been located in that portion of the building. But with 24 buses, a large staff, and a need for training space, the city schools’ transportation department poses a more difficult conundrum.

Still, Duggan said, the city will find a space for the department, whether it be in the Fuller School building or in another city-owned property.

”If a scenario doesn’t work out, then the fall back would be the part of the building that’s occupied,” Duggan said. “It’s not a turn key situation. People (in other departments) will have to be moved ... and things will have to be changed around.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp