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Newsmaker: Jason W. Mitchell, Director, Dept. of Public Works

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Jason W. Mitchell was sworn in as Director of Baltimore City's Department of Public Works on July 2, 2021. (courtesy photo)

Tom's Newsmaker guest today is Jason Mitchell, the Director of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

Mitchell comes to Baltimore from Oakland, California, where he served as the assistant city administrator. He became acting director at the Baltimore DPW in May of last year, and he was confirmed by the City Council in July.

Before the search for his job got underway, the City Council approved a 30% pay increase for the Director position. His salary of $245,000 makes Mr. Mitchell the fourth highest paid employee in city government, behind Visit Baltimore CEO Al Hutchinson, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and City Administrator Christopher Shorter.

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Residential and commercial water billings and wastewater treatment have been persistent challenges for DPW. (photo by Nicole Koehler via Wikimedia Commons)

The DPW faces a number of difficult challenges, chief among them a severe labor shortage, which has led to backlogs and a cutback of many services. Recycling, for example, is now collected every two weeks instead of every week, street sweeping has been severely curtailed, and workers are having a difficult time keeping up with requests to address illegal dumping. The department was also saddened last month when Jake Rogers, an employee in the Solid Waste Bureau, was shot to death at his home, in front of his three young children.

The department is also dealing with on-going problems with the water billing system, and last week, the State Department of the Environment sued the city over problems at wastewater treatment plants. The Department is under a federal Sanitary Sewer Consent Decree as well.

DPW Director Jason Mitchell joins us on Zoom…

Listeners are welcome to join us as well with their comments and questions.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Malarie is Midday's Supervisory Producer.
Rob is Midday's senior producer.