Clallam commissioners agree to fill vacant Road Department positions

The positions were left open during the chip seal season this summer.

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County commissioners said Monday they would grant a request from the Road Department to fill a pair of vacated maintenance worker positions.

The positions, one on the West End and one in Port Angeles, were left open during the chip seal season this summer, County Engineer Ross Tyler said.

“We’re down at the very, very minimal amount of staffing that we can operate with and still have enough to handle a sick person or a vacation or something like that,” Tyler told commissioners in a Monday work session.

“We got through the summer OK, but we really don’t want to go below [current staffing]. I would like to fill these two positions if at all possible.”

Included in budget

County Administrator Jim Jones said the positions were included in this year’s budget.

“We’re saving money so far,” said Jones, who recommended the hires.

“We need a little training time before the snows fall, if they do, to help with that.”

Tyler also requested to add a mechanic’s position that was budgeted for this year but left unfilled.

“It’s a break-even for us because a lot of our maintenance we’re having to farm out,” Tyler said of contracted maintenance.

”We can take care of it in-house, and it just provides backup for my guys.

“Right now, I’ve got no backup in [central county] District 2, which is where we take our trucks and our heavy equipment to be serviced,” Tyler said.

Commissioners Mike Chapman and Mark Ozias did not object to the hires.

Commissioner Bill Peach was absent because he was participating in a special meeting of the state Board of Natural Resources in Olympia.

“We’re OK with it, but just touch base with Bill tomorrow morning,” Chapman told Jones.

Briefed on storm

In other discussion from the work session, commissioners were briefed on the storm that skirted the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday.

The storm was not as strong in Western Washington as many had forecast because the low center tracked over the Pacific Ocean.

“No injuries that we’re aware of,” Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron said. “No significant damage.”

Cameron and Tyler were among those who staffed the Clallam County Emergency Operations Center, or EOC, on Saturday.

At one point, the EOC lost contact with Neah Bay because the area lost power and cell service, Cameron said.

“As we were disbanding there Saturday afternoon, we were going, ‘You know, this is a good practice,’ ” Tyler said.

“Nothing bad happened this time.

“It just all worked out well.”

In some ways, Cameron said, the storm monitoring was a more effective exercise than the Cascadia Rising emergency preparedness drill in June.

“Cascadia was kind of scripted,” Cameron said. “This is real-time.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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