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Public fleet operations in Northern California have experienced reduced workforces during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a survey recently released by the Northern California chapter of the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association (MEMA).

The survey had 15 respondents, all representing public fleets in Northern California.

About 29% of respondents said they did not have workforce reductions, while the rest reported a significant reduction in workforce. About 14% of respondents said they had reductions of 75% or more of staff. All respondents said employees who are sheltering in place are paid, and most respondents (79%) said they were being paid through administrative leave pay, with fewer reporting that their employees are receiving vacation and sick leave pay.

Kevin Myose, fleet manager for San Joaquin County and MEMA NorCal secretary, explained that these results mainly refer to technicians.

“At San Joaquin County, we have been advised to split our crews in half and keep half sheltering at home in reserve. That will work until we run out of emergency paid sick leave. So we're looking at adding a swing shift or developing shop distancing and congregation reduction protocols that will pass the scrutiny of our public health officer,” he said.

Myose said the most surprising result was that some fleets have 75% of their staff sheltering at home.

To compensate for reduced technician staffing levels, fleet operations are outsourcing more work, including preventive maintenance (44%), emergency repairs (33%) and biennial inspection of terminals (11%).

Additionally, 80% of respondents said their employees (administrative) can work from home.

The availability of disinfectant and personal protective equipment (PPE) is varied, with 40% saying they have less than a week’s worth of supplies available, and 27% saying they have more than a month of supplies available.

One fleet (7%) reported performing temperature checks of employees, and 79% said they have a plan in place when a staff member tests positive for the virus.

To view the full survey results, click here.

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