National Public Works Week; the celebration of “invisible” employees

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - May 22 - 28 is National Public Works Week, a week dedicated to celebrating and thinking of public works employees who help cities, towns, counties and nations run.

Jeff Johnston, Public Works Director of Staunton, said the best praise for any public works business is no comments at all.

“The highest praise for any public works organization is to be ignored, to be invisible, that thing’s just magically happen,” Johnston said. “There’s always plenty of water, the sewage magically goes away, the streets are fine, the traffic signals work. It’s happening everywhere, it’s underneath everything that goes on.”

Johnston said that public work employees are essential at all times of the year. There roles can include but are not limited to:

  • Water treatment and purification
  • Road repairs and sign placement
  • Trash and recycling collection
  • Snow plowing, grass mowing, and a whole lot more.

Johnston said that more often than not, the work a public works employee is doing is inconvenient for some, but it is for the betterment of the public as a whole. He said to give some leeway to the employees who shut down a road to fix a sign or are driving slow because they are cleaning the street or repairing it.

“One of the great things about the public works business and it’s the theme of publics works week this year is connecting the world through public works,” Johnston said. “What we do in public works in Staunton is happening everywhere, in big cities, small cities, in the United States and throughout the world.”

Johnston said that the 100+ people in Staunton that are employed by public works are doing a great job, but there are always vacancies that can be filled.