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County Manager Thanks and Recognizes Inclement Weather Staff

02/12/2019

At its Feb. 12 administrative meeting the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners, along with the County Manager, acknowledged and recognized the Bernalillo County staff for their support and team work during the winter weather that we experienced between Christmas and New Year's Day.

It was the ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances. Countywide telecommunications were down due to a national network issue, consecutive snowstorms were hitting the area and holiday vacation schedules were in full effect.

For several days between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when most residents were warmly enjoying the holidays with family and friends, BernCo’s finest were outside and on the job.

Out as early as 3 a.m. until as late as 11 p.m., Public Works Division road crews were snowplowing and keeping roadways safe for travel.

By quadrant, those crew members were:

  • South Mountains: George Bennett, Greg Abeyta, Juan Lucero, Chris Pacheco, and Joaquin Ortiz
  • North Mountains: Rick Wafer, Richard Noble, Nick Cordova, Brandon Fuentes, and Allen Serda
  • North Valley: Brandon MacDonnell, Dirk Tafoya, Josh Pacheco and Vince Cardenas
  • South Valley: Pedro Villa and Manney Lueras

Despite the long hours, the men stayed in good spirits and could be heard through their radio channel conversations making the best of the situation and at times literally whistling while they worked -- it is a true testament to their work ethic, camaraderie, and teamwork.

However, that teamwork went well beyond the men clearing the roads.

Other Bernalillo County departments and offices that provided significant support are:

  • In the Heavy Equipment shop -- mechanics were supplying and changing blades on the plows, replacing windshield wipers that froze and cracked, keeping the fuel tanks filled with special additive to prevent freezing, and repairing equipment that either got stuck, broke down or became damaged in accidents.
  • The Clean Team and other employees supported the crews by mixing salt and sand, and hauling to satellite locations.
  • Admin staff scheduled delivery of salt and sand, processed purchase order increases, and tracked haul tickets to pay vendors. Stockpiles were depleting fast and the admin staff made sure supplies did not run out completely.
  • The Contact Center kept communications open by relaying messages from the public to the crew supervisors.
  • Emergency Management stayed on top of weather reports, road conditions, and checked in with the road crews in need of equipment or supplies. Emergency Management worked with me to keep me abreast of fast changing weather information, and we consulted to make the decisions regarding delays and closures.
  • And, the Sheriff’s Department kept in constant contact with all of us regarding road conditions and coordinated with Public Works on several occasions to help with stranded vehicles.

Without this comprehensive, truly countywide effort, providing additional assistance would not have been possible as Public Works road crews also helped the Village of Tijeras plow a few of their roads when their own equipment broke down

Also recognized were:

  • Roger Paul, Public Works Division Deputy County Manager
  • Antonio Jaramillo, Operations and Maintenance Department Director
  • Amor Solano, Roads Maintenance Manager
  • Richard Clark, Emergency Management Manager
  • And the East Mountain Sheriff’s Department Command Center, for their efforts and leadership during the winter storms.

To these individuals and all of the road crew members, Bernalillo County is lucky to have you!

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