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City of Yelm government begins to tell their own story – FINALLY!

Photo credit: City of Yelm Government Facebook

“Superintendent Brian Wharton, YMCA CEO Kyle Cronk, and Yelm Mayor JW Foster met to explore ways their organizations can work together to support kids and serve unmet community needs. We are in an exploratory, unobligated phase to identify how the YMCA, City of Yelm, Yelm School District, and other community partners can establish a collaborative forward looking vision.

More conversations will follow with the school board, city council members, parents, kids, residents, and other community leaders. Exciting ideas. Please stay tuned.”
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“Great meeting with the CEO of the South Sound YMCA about the initial results of the community survey. As you may know, the City of Yelm is exploring the feasibility of building a full featured YMCA in or near our community. Good news is the initial survey results indicate there is a lot of interest from Yelm. Other potential locations include Lacey and Olympia. Further info and analysis is needed before the YMCA makes a decision. They need to make sure the capital can be raised for construction and a facility can be operated here in a sustainable manner. This is a collaborative effort with neighboring cities, Thurston County, the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Yelm Chamber of Commerce, Yelm Community Schools, and several business and community leaders. Let us know your thoughts and please stay tuned.”
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The hard work of the City of Yelm employees and the approach the city had undertaken to cross-train them during the last week’s snow storm to keep the main roads safe for all the residents, schools, and businesses of Yelm was exemplified in a smooth flow for everyone.

While Councilor Molly Carmody received a question/complaint via social media about the city’s operations during the snow storm, this person had not written “to the city to voice concerns or ask these questions directly of city staff, and we appreciate the opportunity to inform people to help avoid negative assumptions. We welcome questions, comments, or suggestions…for people to contact the city directly. Simply go to the city’s webpage and “send a comment to Mayor Foster.” They will receive a reply in a timely manner. Here’s the link: http://www.ci.yelm.wa.us/mayor-comments,” quoting City Administrator Michael Grayum to the Yelm Community Blog.

Grayum added:
It’s important to keep in mind that we get snow so infrequently we do our best to take advantage of the training opportunity, especially given that we are an ‘all hands on deck’ type of Public Works Department that does its best to serve the residents, schools, and businesses of Yelm. The City owns one sand truck, one deicer truck, and two snow plows. This equipment is normally in the shed 360 days a year and we do as much cross training as possible in the limited time snow is on the ground. For this reason and more, when it snows you will often see two employees in the snow plow and other equipment at the same time driving along the curb line.

The first main reason is training. We have two experienced snow plow drivers on our team and are training new employees to use this equipment. Having one experienced driver with the new driver helps with the on-the-job-training and prevents damage to the truck or private property.

The second main reason is safety. Having a spotter in the passenger seat helps to not damage the truck and avoid clipping drains which could do significant damage to the road. As the snow gets slushy and starts to melt, we have crew members drive next to the curb line in trucks to identify clogged/iced over drains and clear them immediately to improve driver safety and prevent intersections from flooding as the snow melts.

The third reason is efficiency. When drains are iced over or compacted with snow, crew members clear them immediately. Another bonus of having crew members team up in the plow is so they can go faster when they need to exit the vehicle to open up the catch basin by hand.

In the future, residents can continue to expect to see Public Works Crews teamed up together on occasion when we hire new employees in order to give them a chance to learn where some of the catch basins are located, what routes to plow/sand, and trouble areas to avoid.

It is also important to mention that when our Public Works crews operate snow equipment they service the arterials/main roads first to support high volume traffic areas and bus routes. We have set routes that are plowed/sanded/de-iced routinely. After the main roads are cleared, our crew members then service residential streets. We are not selective or show favoritism to one area or another. We respond directly to resident requests when we are all caught up and do our best to get their road cleared on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, our Public Works team works hard and puts in long-hours to keep the roads safe for all of us. I believe they deserve our appreciation and not our accusations and negative insinuations. If people do not want to use the website to contact and ask questions directly, please feel free to pass on my contact information and I will do my best to assist, inform, and answer any questions they may have.

Michael Grayum, Yelm City Administrator

– Bottom Line:
KUDOS to Yelm City Administrator Michael Grayum and Interim Mayor Foster for open government, communication with constituents, and transparency in fostering this type of communication from our city after 10 1/2 years of none. The City of Yelm Government Facebook page is accessed here.

Posted by Steve on February 13, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

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