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Published: Friday, 1/5/2001

Findlay mayor pays with pizza

FINDLAY - Mayor John Stozich delivers.

Actually, he insists, it's his employees who come through. Water main breaks had city workers out of bed and into the cold four times between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Yesterday, the mayor and Safety-Service Director Robert Ruse dug into their pockets and bought pizza for the water department workers who had to put in the overtime on the cold nights. They delivered it to the men and sat down to lunch with them. “I like to reward our people when they do an outstanding job,” the mayor said.

The breaks all occurred in the middle of the night in older waterlines. Mayor Stozich said the problem points up the city's need to continue its program of replacing waterlines, some of which are 110 years old.

Mr. Ruse said the city has committed about $500,000 a year to waterline upgrades and replacements. The cold is harsh on the lines, though he said continuing cold is generally better than when the mercury dips above and below the freezing mark.

Water workers are on call 24 hours. The workers, who are not unionized, are entitled to overtime pay or compensatory time for their extra hours.

Mayor Stozich said they deserve it - and a hot slice of pizza too. “They have to get down in the hole where all the water is, and that's pretty doggone cold,” he said. “Some of those nights the temperature was 8 degrees, and the wind chill was lower than that.”

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