Wednesday, May 22, 2013

County has One Lone Gardener

Comment to the Josephine County Commissioners, 10-24-12. 

Honorable Commissioners:
          A while back, when I was complaining about the condition of the Fairgrounds, Commissioner Hare told us about how much he also hates weeds, but that the County has one lone gardener, with occasional help from community corrections work crews, for all county properties.  That’s a lot of properties.
          That’s one difference between the County and the City, as the City has no gardener, and various contractors and the parks department handle all city landscape maintenance.   The County has no contractors; the city has no qualified supervision of theirs. 
But your gardener also has no one to supervise him who knows his business.  His boss is the BOM manager, who has his head full with Buildings Operations and Maintenance.  The maintenance of landscapes is another specialty that he is probably little acquainted with, and your gardener works without knowledgeable direction or supervision.
Every employee or contractor needs feedback from his employer or customer about priorities and the quality of his work.  Even I need to ask my customer for executive decisions once in a while.    
Your gardener apparently does not get that kind of input, except occasionally from a citizen like me.  He appears to be more concerned with the opinion of unknown and ignorant people who never talk to him than the knowledgeable one in front of him.  He’s told me that he blows leaves into his beds at home, but is afraid of people saying that leaves in the courthouse beds look messy.
The other day, leaving your meeting, I told him that I was a happy woman, looking at the locust leaves gathering in the beds around the Anne Basker Auditorium, obviously blown there.  He said that he would eventually pick every one of those leaves up.  I turned away from my truck and went in the Courthouse to talk to the Commissioner who is liason to landscape maintenance, which turned out to mean the BOM manager. 
I talked to Commissioner Reedy, pointing out that it is unnecessary labor and materials expense to rake leaves out of beds and substitute Jo Gro.  Not only that, but leaves work better to suppress weeds than compost that makes a fine seed bed for windblown weeds.  He said that he would talk to the BOM manager about trying something different this year.
You have one gardener.  He obviously needs knowledgeable direction and supervision.  County properties in the city are outrageously violating city codes for weeds and litter, and he’s more concerned with counter-productively taking leaves out of shrub borders around the courthouse.

Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

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