Depleted DPW Staff Faces Another Month or More of Storm Cleanup

Skimpy staffing in Haverhill’s Department of Public Works could result in winter storm cleanup that lingers nearly into June.

City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien requested information from Mayor James J. Fiorentini and DPW Director Michael J. Stankovich about the possibility of curbside pickup of some of the larger branches and limbs that broke under the weight of heavy, spring snows (pictured).

“We have a lot of branches and pieces of trees down, including on our own property, the city of Haverhill,” Daly O’Brien said.

Stankovich’s response wasn’t what Daly O’Brien was looking for, but it does give homeowners a bit of a break.

For the next two weeks, the DPW yard on Primrose Street will be open for brush disposal, at no charge, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For larger limbs and trees, Stankovich recommended contacting private tree services.

“If you’re able to get stuff down there, it will be accepted,” Daly O’Brien said.

Downed trees and limbs on city property are being cleaned up as quickly as DPW staff are able, Stankovich wrote.

“With limited staff, it will be another four to six weeks to clean up the remaining city property.”

Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan said efforts should focus first on clearing sidewalks and streets where children have to walk to school.

The combination of limited staff, only one chipper, ad not enough city equipment, the DPW is unable to go home-to-home to clear debris, Stankovich said.

City Councilor Melinda Barrett noted that the DPW staff has dwindled to about eight people.

“Come budget time, we have to look at staffing levels at the DPW,” she said.