Town sets up food sta­tions for em­ploy­ees

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By WIL­LIAM KELLY

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.”

Photo by Jay Bood­hesh­war

Town em­ploy­ees gather at the Palm Beach Recreation Cen­ter on Wed­nes­day.

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