If your city sidewalk is cracked, call this guy

One of the easiest decisions in my young career as a council member came Wednesday, when I and the rest of the council approved Mayor Lynn Stoner’s appointment of Steve Rodgers as our permanent public works director. The former assistant director, Rodgers had been serving as the interim director since Eddie Consaul retired last fall.

Why should you care about public works? Well, if your life goes smoothly, you don’t. But when we need roadway safety, storm water drainage, landscaping and beautification, public works is on the spot, keeping our city up to “Plantation standards.”

That’s the expectation. Rodgers is kind of a public works geek. He joined us after working in Davie and Parkland.

He’s a Florida Certified Horticulture Professional, a qualified stormwater management inspector and took tropical meteorology classes to have a better handle on learning about storms so he can deploy resources effectively. He also encourages his employees to go beyond their job through training, safety and education. He says worker’s compensation claims are down 50 percent due to safety training. He will award his 126 public works employees with a symbolic 3-inch safety cone, as a way of keeping morale.

 And if you want to watch him go full-out, have him point out the machinery options on the public works campus by Plantation Central Park.

But the other thing I think Rodgers will excel at is public communication, and I want to go to one specific topic here: sidewalks. Some of Plantation’s neighborhoods have cracked sidewalks, often as a result of tree overgrowth.

Rodgers wants you to call public works, so they can get your sidewalk on the list to be fixed.

“We need the public’s eyes and ears,” he said. (Note that sidewalks matter greatly to me because they a liability.) He urges you to call 954-452-2535 about sidewalks and any other matter relating to maintenance.

Schools: I enjoyed a meeting with Dr. Rosalind Osgood, the school board member whose area includes Plantation High, Plantation Middle School and more. She and I would love to see more residents in Plantation choose to send their children to their schools. And she and I realize that’s a challenge at this point. Rather than go into a lengthy writing on the details, I would rather you know that I, and other council members, are eager to work better with the school board. We’re going to try.

Planning and Zoning director Daniel Holmes led a one-hour workshop Wednesday on revising the existing code manual. Ordinances and amendments have been added over time, and Holmes says the current document needs an overhaul. He walked us through it, and here’s a video. Note: This is not changing the codes, just generally making it more digestible to those who need to use it. Studying our codes and making decisions on changes is the next step. We’ll get there.

Ribbon-cutting: The Plantation Chamber of Commerce will lead a ribbon-cutting for Performance Title, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 600 N. Pine Island Road. Goldie Fenster and Barbara Simmons will lead the inaugural session of “Women in Business” at noon Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the chamber office. They plan to meet at noon the fourth Wednesday of every month. Call 954-587-1410.

ML King Day: City offices are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. The biggest event in our city that I know of is on Sunday: A MLK Remembrance Day Celebration from 3-4:30 p.m. at United Methodist Church, 1001 NW 70th Ave., Plantation. Go to plantationumc.org or call the Interfaith Multicultural Committee at 954-584-7500.

Doggie-palooza: The city’s 16th annual Doggie-Palooza is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Happy Tails Park, 6600 SW 16th St. For details, navigate through our city calendar http://www.plantation.org/Plantation/community-calendar.html. Also note other meetings at city hall are on the schedule, and you, the public, are welcome.

 This newsletter originates on NickSortal.com and is shared via various platforms. The best way to get it is to subscribe to my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/NickSortalPlantationCityCouncil. My email is NSortal@Plantation.org.