Question and answer with Tyler Rankins

GREENFIELD — It’s been six months since Tyler Rankins started as street and cemetery commissioner.

He was appointed head of the Greenfield Street Department in August, filling the vacancy created last spring when longtime commissioner Jim Hahn resigned.

A lifelong resident, he had big plans for the department and was adamant about making it more proactive.

There’s been reorganization at the street and cemetery department, and the break room was renovated. Employees are currently building an office above the current office space.

The Daily Reporter checked in with him this week to see what he’s already accomplished and what’s still on the horizon.

What were your goals when starting?

Training for all the guys. I want everyone to know how to do everything here, no matter what their job title is.

The biggest thing we did was we moved Tim Boyk from our maintenance position to operations foreman. He basically takes care of the day-to-day operations, tells the guys what they’re doing for that day.

That moved Ryan (Kinder), who was the foreman, to maintenance foreman, so he pretty much takes care of all our trucks.

We took what we’ve had, and we made it better and more efficient.

We also wanted to take a more proactive approach on our day-to-day operations. Our work orders we’ve actually been able to cut in half in the first six months just by being more proactive.

I’d say the other thing is just communication. We have a supervisor meeting every Friday, talking about the next week, two weeks out, three weeks out. It’s going well.

The employee break room has been renovated, and you’re building a new office. How’s that going?

It was never done nicely. Basically there were some old cabinets thrown in from the old fire department, and (the break room) was just junky. So I just wanted to spruce it up for them a little, and they really appreciate it. It looks good. It’s a nice place they can go eat lunch and take a break, because they do work hard here.

We’re building offices upstairs.

What plans do you have for the future?

We have to continue to get new equipment. I’ve submitted a truck replacement program to the mayor, and that’s always subject to change because we have a lot of equipment, and a lot of it is outdated.

We are outgrowing our space here, … so one of these days, we’re going to have to move. I don’t know if it’s five, 10 years down the road. So that’s a goal of mine, to find a good location and get all of that worked out.

One of these days I would like to cut these work orders down to nothing. You’re never going to be able to get everything, but I would like to be able to cut it down 75 percent.

You also oversee the cemetery. Do you have any goals planned for it?

We’re looking at the rules. They haven’t been revised since 1997, so I’ve been getting with the city attorney, and we’re working through those.

We will have to open another section because we’re running low on graves. We’ll hopefully start working on it this spring.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.