Town sets up food stations for employees
Hurricane recovery is a massive undertaking and can be exhausting work for the people who do it.
More than half of the town’s workforce — some 250 people out of 360 employees — is involved in the response to Hurricane Irma, Deputy Town Manager Jay Boodheshwar said Wednesday.
For Public Works crews, it means clearing streets and drains and sawing and stacking trees, limbs and other debris to be hauled off the island beginning today. Other duties include removing storm shutters from buildings and fixing leaks. Regular garbage collection already has begun.
For police, it means keeping potential looters off the island, maintaining checkpoints, enforcing a dusk-to-dawn curfew and patrolling neighborhoods.
Fire-rescue crews work closely with Florida Power & Light to deal with electrical emergencies that can happen when power is restored.
Debris removal and building repairs are going full speed from dawn until dusk, so shifts are longer than normal.
That is by no means all of it, just some of the more visible aspects.
To take good care of those em- ployees, the town has set up a food station at the Palm Beach Recreation Center where they can get three hot meals a day, along with plenty of cold water, lemonade and soda. Plates for takeout are avaiable for police and firefighters who can’t stay to eat.
“We’re making sure the employees doing recovery are fed and hydrated so they can keep moving,” Boodheshwar said.
The vendor, Billy Bones, came in Monday with a portable trailer and is preparing meals on site through today.
“In the past, it was something town staff did that was inefficient and really kind of pulled us away from the recovery effort,” Boodheshwar said. “This year, we have a lot more boots on the ground, and we’re letting the experts deal with meal preparation.”
Mayor Gail Coniglio and Councilwoman Danielle Moore have been there every day, Coniglio said, “to thank the employees for their extraordinary dedication to get the island back up and running.”
Town employees gather at the Palm Beach Recreation Center on Wednesday.