Courtesy photo These are the upgraded water plant control panels in 2013. The entire service can now be monitored for pressure and storage tank inventory.
published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Complaint filed about AP water system
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- Tammy Macklin, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), has filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of the union regarding alleged public health issues related to the City of Avon Park's water system.
According to AFSCME, there are two major concerns -- not enough personnel to run the water plant safely, and not answering alarms in order to save money.
No one from ASFSCME spoke to the city council regarding the claimed health threats at its regular meeting Monday night.
City Manager Julian Deleon made a presentation Monday reviewing the city's water operations.
Since 2009, when he took over operations, Deleon said, the city has invested $900,000 in upgrading equipment. "Prior to my tenure, there were clear equipment problems and inefficient operations of the city's utilities. The storage tanks were cracked; there had been electrical fires. The system was in great disrepair, but the union did not complain during this time period," Deleon said.
Pumps were running 24/7, Deleon added. This means the city's pipe lines, as well as individual homes and business, experienced low water pressure in the morning and high pressure at night, he said. The fluctuation put stress on the system and was one reason a string of pipe breaks occurred. Now the water is regulated, using computer software that monitors the entire system, Deleon said.
This is the reason he could lay off water plant employees. "As we progressed with technology, we became more efficient and we could get staffing reduced," he said
"These issues started when the city was granted a staffing reduction in our permit to 0.60 hours a week. Based on a lack of work, we laid some employees off with a severance package," Deleon said.
As for cutting corners, Deleon replied that the FDEP makes two major investigations a year, with many surprise visits in between.
Deleon also released a letter dated April 3 from the FDEP's director of district management to Hector Ramos, director of the AFSCME Council 79, Region 3. It read in part, "The department performed a thorough review of the city's records and found no ongoing related violations. Unless new or additional information becomes available, the department has no basis to commence any action concerning this matter."
Deleon also reminded the council that in 2011, Avon Park received an excellence award for its water treatment plant operations, and was voted as the Florida city having the best tasting water.
Efforts to reach Macklin, wife of former mayor Tom Macklin, and the AFSCME regional office were unsuccessful by press time.
water dept (by: clean - 4/13/2013)
I've been in there and seen the filth and dead rats, and I have seen it all on paper, it true. Oh no
The Truth (by: JIMMYFALCO - 4/11/2013)
We all agree on the obvious, next should be their whipping boy.
Recall (by: partypooper - 4/11/2013)
Macklin is also who started the "recall" two years ago, and was involved with that dirty cop. He is also who has gone after the local AP business owners and turned them to the water management district by filing secret complaints for parking lot drainage. Now it makes sense. He is an AP hater.
Humiliated (by: Joker - 4/10/2013)
It comes down to credibility. DeLeon has the facts and Macklin has he fluff. The winner on this one is obvious.
Well said Blindman (by: Sam Schultz - 4/10/2013)
This Macklin family just can't get enough of DeLeon doing something well. I agree with the reporter. Where was the union before DeLeon got there? Looks like Paul Miller was actually right when he said that DeLeon had gotten rid of the deadwood... Macklin was one of the leaches of Ciry tax dollars and now she is unemployed with the others that just don't want to be bothered with actual work. sadly, they have plenty of time to file complaints even if they are unfounded.
Ax Lady (by: JIMMYFALCO - 4/10/2013)
Are you kidding Tammy? We have an award for the best tasting water in the state. Why? Our city manager cleaned up the mess at the at the water department and installed new state of the art equipment. Great job Julian. Missed you at the last meeting, nice to see your husband quiet for a change.
It's always something! (by: Blindman~ - 4/10/2013)
It's simply amazing how Mr. Deleon is able to fend off the gnats that continually swirl around him in Avon Park. For the sake of the city, citizens should pray he doesn't grow tired of the pestilence and move on.
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