National Public Works Week, May 15–21, 2022, celebrated the contributions of public works personnel throughout the nation, educating the public about how public works employees plan, build, and operate at the heart of communities to improve residents’ quality of life. This year’s theme, “Ready & Resilient,” touched upon the dedicated spirit of public works employees.
In recognition of this week-long celebration, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) pays special homage to the City of Dana Point’s Public Works Department, which can be relied on to serve its community and manage challenges through risk management best practices.
“Public works employees provide critical services that many of us take for granted,” said Senior Risk Manager Alex Mellor. “Whether maintaining infrastructure, managing capital improvement projects, or performing myriad other tasks, public works employees are vital to maintaining the health of the communities in which we all live.”
Public works employees support Dana Point by managing and supervising the city’s infrastructure from 112 miles of sidewalk along City streets to the Salt Creek Ozone Treatment Plant. The California JPIA and Dana Point will soon team up to complete an inventory of confined spaces throughout the city to ensure that potential risks are recognized and safety specifications are met so that public works employees are protected while fulfilling their duties.
“Both the public works department and the city overall are always eager to form a partnership to help better manage risk,” said Mellor. “They are very proactive about asking risk-related questions and taking full advantage of the many resources the California JPIA has to offer its members.”
“The California JPIA has truly helped us take actions over the years that protect the city from liability. The City Council prioritizes safety and has provided Public Works with the budgets we need to maintain our streets, sidewalks, signs, traffic signals, and other public assets to a very high standard,” said Director of Public Works/City Engineer Matthew Sinacori. “One good example is the city’s annual inspection of every public sidewalk in the city to identify needed repairs to eliminate potential tripping hazards. Hundreds of work orders are generated each year to address issues found. This has proved to be an invaluable tool to prevent claims.”
Dana Point’s public works department is ready and resilient largely due to the leadership and guidance of Sinacori, who, according to Mellor, cultivates an awareness of potential liability issues, assesses risks, and anticipates solutions to potential problems. Sinacori has established a five-star service standard for the divisions he supervises, including street maintenance, traffic engineering, solid waste and recycling, engineering, water quality, and construction and capital improvement projects.
“I am proud of our entire Public Works team. They all care about this community and keeping the city safe, well maintained, and clean. We put in the extra time needed to pick up that piece of trash, pick that weed, or fix that sign regardless of the time of day. We also value the relationships we have with our emergency response teams (OCSD and OCFA) and are ready for any emergency,” said Sinacori. “We love working for a small city and the diversity it brings in our day. We will continue to find innovative ways to do more with less while still holding the highest standard possible.”
“The California JPIA is proud to support the important work performed by public works employees across the entire membership,” said Mellor. “Through proactive risk management efforts and utilizing resources provided by the Authority, member public works departments can reduce the likelihood of injury to employees and the public, and ensure public funds are used for their intended purpose.”
Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at cjpia.org.