Citizen complaint stirs public works / city response

Standing in his yard, Victor Garner points out where crews were Ontario Public Work crews started working before 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. A follow-up complaint from Garner prompted officials to change what time they start work that involves noisy equipment.

ONTARIO – Ontario resident Victor Garner woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning to the sound of what he thought was a leaf blower. After getting up and going outside to see what was making the noise, he saw a crew from Jacobs, the city of Ontario’s Public Works department, doing work in the parking lot adjacent to the Ontario Recreation District building.

Garner said they were across from his residence “striping the parking lot” and that the machine used to do the work was making most of the noise, the rest came from “vehicles idling.”

He told the crews that they woke him up with the work they were performing, asking to speak to the person in charge. Garner asked them whether there were “some kind of code regarding” the matter of noise in the morning. Crew members then called Casey Mordhorst, field operations with Jacobs, who was able to speak with Garner regarding his concerns.

He described the interaction as a positive one, saying Mordhorst was “nice, professional” and that “everyone’s been good.”

He said shortly after his inquiry with the work crew that “they stopped work, packed up and left” and did not return until “a quarter to 8 [a.m.]”

Following the incident, Garner sent out an email to city staff, city council members, Jacobs supervisors and the newspaper detailing what had happened.

Ontario City Councilor Eddie Melendrez was first to reach back out to Garner on the email thread.

“Thank you for reaching out and I will ask City Manager Brown about your concerns,” wrote Melendrez.

Garner said he “wasn’t surprised” to see Melendrez’ response first because he’s “very civic minded.”

Ontario Public Works Director Al Cablay, with Jacobs, called Garner after the incident and apologized for what happened and followed up later in the afternoon with an email.

He said that he understood that they had a job to do and even apologized himself for “coming in hot” when making his comments to the work crew.

“Don’t wake up a grumpy old man with time on his hands,” he laughed.

Ontario City Manager Adam Brown also replied to the email, explaining that what happened is “not consistent with our customer service philosophy.” He then detailed a list of adjustments that will be made by Cablay in response to the situation. Following is the list.

• We will no longer be operating equipment that exceed the limits set forth in the Noise Ordinance near residences;

• Painting curb before the 6 a.m. start time is only done when traffic and weather have been concerns; and

• Public Works has a curb painting map that will be updated to show those areas that will not be done due to noise ordinance restrictions.

Brown thanked Garner for the opportunity to make these “corrective measures” and said he hoped the measures would help prevent other citizens from being impacted.

Garner told the newspaper that staff from Jacobs and the city, as well as that of elected officials, made efforts to address his concern, adding that he was impressed with the prompt response and outcome.

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