The City of Clinton's Public Works
EDITORIAL -- Putting together the team.
We had a great interview with Joey Meadors recently, and came away with the information for a Jan. 8 news article related to City of Clinton Public Works.
It was prompted by reports that Meadors and the city’s economic developer Marvin Moss provided to the city council Dec. 2. Actually, to say Meadors “runs public works” is an understatement. He has this responsibility in addition to what he was doing, namely the City of Clinton’s utilities’ customer service (billings, payments and such). That gives Joey Meadors a job title that’s a mouthful - the Director of the Department of Public Works and Utilities.
Meadors supervised these two, distinct yet combined-into- one departments for a successful 2019 (he also supervises municipal court). He has 30 years experience in Public Works, and has transitioned back into this department’s Gary Street headquarters after a time in the Municipal Center. Meadors says his success rests on the shoulders of those who came before, specifically Dale Satterfield and Mike Reddick.
Reddick, he says, never let anyone in city hall ever forget about the importance of infrastructure. And that includes not just pipes in the ground, but also hiring people who know their jobs and empowering them.
Meadors considers Reddick a mentor and says Satterfield - once director of Laurens CPW and now Public Works Director for Laurens County - kept that emphasis strong during his time with the City of Clinton. To us, it is very unglamorous work - kind of like fixing the foundation of your house, money spent on something nobody can see. But just let the water spring a leak, or a tree limb crash into a power line and see how important it becomes. These people are on alert, 24/7/365.
The relationship between Meadors and Satterfield became very important this past year. A sudden shut-down of the garbage transfer station off Hwy 56 near I-26 could have been a disaster for the City.
The County had no choice but to haul garbage to the massive Twin Chimneys Landfill in Greenville County. But that is much farther away for Clinton than the now-closed transfer station. Through negotiations, Clinton was able to send its trash to Cross Anchor and recoup the money it was going to have to pay the County for the Twin Chimneys transfer. Meadors readily admits that the County did not have to agree to the arrangement; Satterfield told the county council it was only fair, and the county administration agreed to a pay-by-invoice relationship. “He has sat in this chair,” Meadors says of Satterfield. For a poor community like Clinton, a lot of these customer service costs live on a razor’s edge of profit and loss. It was important that trash-hauling not become a huge mark on the loss side of the ledger.
Laurens County is making arrangements to have its own transfer station at its former landfill site, and that should at least stabilize the situation.
Again, hauling trash is one of the least glamorous things a public government can do - yet, one of the most costly. Just hiring CLD-certified drivers is a massive challenge. Used to be, some cost could be recovered through recyclables - that was before China stopped accepting American cardboard for recycling.
This is just one of many challenges that Joey Meadors, and his counterparts throughout the country, face every day. Aging infrastructure, state government mandates with no accompanying money, federal government regulations, public expectations - it all comes with the territory.
Thank you, Public Works & Utilities, for shouldering it all.