Third of Elkhart Co Highway Department drivers laid off - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Employees shocked after Elkhart County Highway Department lay-offs

Posted:

Ten employees from the Elkhart County Highway Department were laid off Friday morning. With there being 33 drivers total, the county let go of nearly one third of their driving crew.

Jessica Miller, a driver for the county, was one of those laid off. She says, "They started naming them off, and I was probably like 4th or 5th and I was like, 'Huh? I wouldn't be getting let go!'" Miller says it was confirmed when she walked into the county garage with nine of her coworkers. "There were three cops waiting in there [along with] the foreman. [I was] just trying to process everything. I was in shock," she says.

"Last year, we began taking a harder look at really reorganizing, restructuring," says Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder. He confirmed the layoffs and says they had no choice because they were receiving less money from the state. County Administrator Tom Byers says the highway department has been receiving less money from the state for the past four to five years.

Yoder says they are retasking and restructuring their entire department so that highway workers aren't single-tasking. "We've reduced the staff in the garage. We have fewer mechanics because we're outsourcing some of that work," he says. Current employees will be trained to perform the tasks the laid-off employees were doing.

He says during the harsh winter, the highway department hired outside snow plow companies to experiment how it would effect the budget. Yoder says now, with budget problems and the recent layoffs, they are looking at what companies to hire during the winter months.

County drivers say they have had to pick up the slack for those outside companies. Miller recalls having to go replow County Road 33, "It was embarrassing to go over there and plow that again. I had drivers and semi drivers looking at me shaking their head. I was embarrassed to be a driver," she says.

Yoder says the Highway Department is continuing to look at what works and what doesn't. He says employees who can do more than just drive were the ones who were spared. He says, "It all goes to being a more efficient department and using our tax dollars more efficiently."

We called Highway Manager Jeff Taylor to determine the amount of money these layoffs will save the County, but he did not return our calls.  Yoder says they will be finding out how much the layoffs will save in the next few weeks.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Drinking water concerns for Granger and Gilmer Park addressed at a meeting Wednesday

    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
    Nitrates, nicotine, deet, and other toxins were discovered in St. Joe County water in December 2013, following a year-long study. Northeast Granger and Gilmer Park on the south side of South Bend are the areas affected by the contamination. The county health department points to septic systems as the cause for the problem. A group of experts met Wednesday night just to lay-out the first steps in cleaning up the drinking water. St. Joe County's Environmental Health Director, Marc Nelson, says ...More >>
  • Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Councilman Derek Dieter calls for clearer Council policy on medical leave

    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
    Officials say South Bend Common Councilman Henry Davis, Jr. is midway through his first week on medical leave, but the specifics of why he's out are unclear. He hasn't spoken publicly. Instead, all we have to go on is an email he sent the council president saying he needs to concentrate on his health. His request came a little over a week after his DUI arrest. Councilman Derek Dieter wants the full council to meet and clarify the leave of absence process.More >>
  • Reviving The Park: A FOX28 Special Report

    Reviving The Park: A FOX28 Special Report

    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.More >>
    They call it a labor of love. A big piece of Michiana history, sat vacant for decades. Now, dedicated volunteers are working to bring it back to life.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.