Recognizing Our Staff During National Public Works Week

By Joe Scavuzzo, Director, Department of Public Works

This year, the week of May 15 is dedicated as “National Public Works Week.” I’d like to quote the American Public Works Association (APWA): “This week is a celebration of the tens of thousands of men and women in North America who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services collectively known as public works. Instituted as a public education campaign by the APWA in 1960, National Public Works Week calls attention to the importance of public works in community life. This week seeks to enhance the prestige of the often-unsung heroes of our society-the professionals who serve the public good every day with quiet dedication.”

In our fast-paced society of text messages and emails, we all feel rushed to complete our work and move on. It’s all too easy to forget the simple gesture of a “thank you.” On behalf of Superintendent Feriozzi and myself, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to “the guys… our guys.” From the mechanics and our crew chiefs, to our boots on the ground, we are a department that is depended on for support from various agencies and other Township departments, constantly being pulled in multiple directions. These guys make it happen. And those that depend on the Department of Public Works are appreciative. I hear it all the time.

While I firmly believe in the quality of our services, there is always that chance that we drop the ball on a task. We are too big of an operation to be called small; at the same time, we are too small in manpower to be considered big. We constantly seek to improve our methods and thus, the service to the town. One of these improvements is that the Department of Public Works has filled the long-vacant spot of the secretary/clerk position with a young lady who had filled-in at our department many years ago. I’m confident that you will find her to be helpful and pleasant as her personality reflects this. I do find it necessary to thank our “stand-in” secretary for the past five plus years; many of our frequent callers know him simply as “Mike.” This true gentleman, while performing his crew chief duties, acting as the town’s sanitation inspector, and working with Waste Management to handle trash and recycling issues, took the time to answer or call back each phone message with care and thoughtfulness. I look forward to Mike’s workload returning to normal, as I’m sure he is as well.

An Approachable Department

In a world of constant judgment, whether social status, income, the car we drive, or how big our television is, we tend to read into things that aren’t necessarily how we perceive them. We have received a few phone calls and e-mails lately, where residents state that they don’t want to leave their information because they feel they will be “retaliated against.” Although mostly from senior citizens, most of these calls have to do with trash collection being missed. This article may reach each household and business in town, but far fewer may read my monthly “babbling.” I happened to answer the phone one day, as I was returning messages left on our machine; I spoke with a kind woman who thanked me for answering her question but mentioned a concern of “retaliation.” Initially, I laughed and then reassured her that the Department of Public Works is far too busy to have the energy to “retaliate.” However, the more I thought about it, the more aware I became of the issue of approachability. Every resident or business owner in Pennsauken should have no reservations about requesting information or assistance from our department. If we cannot assist you directly, we can get you in touch with the agency that can. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (856) 663-0178 or e-mail

It has been said that we live in a large town that has a small-town feel. Our goal is to operate our department with a “Mom and Pop” feel.

Enjoy the warmer weather!

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