Help wanted: Local township hiring road worker, but no one is applying

TUSCARAWAS TWP. Ohio - Tuscarawas Township, on the western edge of Stark County, is 30-square miles of picturesque farm country with 52 miles of roads to maintain.

Like all communities in Northeast Ohio, it's road department is preparing to keep those roads open this winter but its crew is down to just one person, according to Road Superintendent Dennis Britton.

"It revolves from plowing snow to cleaning up trees and storm damage to cleaning ditches just picking up stuff, the garbage that has been thrown out, there is not one particular item that's got to be done," said Britton.

Retired Road Department Employee Bill Faber says the 52 miles become 104 when you are plowing both lanes and on a tough winter day it was a difficult job even with three crews.

"When you have eight to ten inches of snow and ice its a full-time job we would work 12-14 hours a day and hardly ever get a break in between," said Faber.

The township is trying to hire at least one more employee to help Britton, but Trustee Blake Brenner says so far no one has applied.

"We are still batting zero. We advertised one time we had no response. we are in the process of advertising now and we still have had no response. We have had applications go out but none returned. We have had people who want the job who were not near qualified so that was a wash," said Brenner.

"As of today we have no one to fill the second position and we are in the middle of November."

Qualified candidates need to have a class-A commercial drivers license, will have to pass a drug test and be willing to work in adverse conditions.

Experience is a plus but Brenner says applicants who have experience are hard to find because the township is competing against trucking companies that are also hiring and have been able to pay better.

As a public official, he says the township has to be responsible with the money they have, something he calls "fiscally-fit."

Brenner says in this past election voters in Stark County approved most, if not all, of the renewal levies but it is nearly impossible to get a new levy passed.

"It's hard to keep going back and asking for more and more money so you learn how to use what you got to the best of your ability," said Brenner.

With no qualified applicants, trustees have agreed to adjust their salary to fit the experience of a candidate. They have also agreed to pay 100-percent of the employee's health benefits and the job offers state retirement.

"We ran the ad the first time and had no response. The second ad is going to be paid according to experience. That will be a consideration," said Brenner.

In the meantime, Brenner says keeping the roads clear is among his top priorities as a Trustee and he has offered to drive one of the trucks himself if there is no other option.

"I have a class 'A' CDL, I'm insured because I work for the township," said Brenner adding "Denny (Britton), he smiled when I suggested it to him and the neighboring road superintendent in Sugar Creek said 'I'll let you know where our roads are so you don't screw them up.'"

With winter weather threatening the township is eagerly accepting applications.