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City manager walks the walk by doing what water crew does
City Manager Steve Pinkerton got a taste Friday of what city water department crews have to do - rain or shine - on a typical shift. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
Thomas Galloway patiently waited as the “newbie” on the municipal water crew worked on tightening a city meter in front of a home on Widgeon Way on Friday afternoon.

The task was made a bit more challenging by the fact there was a steady rainfall.

The newbie didn’t think he had it adjusted right but Galloway - with 15 years of experience under his belt - looked over his shoulder and told him he was doing fine.

The newbie was City Manager Steve Pinkerton who is making it a point to get a taste of what the city’s various municipal workers are up against on a daily basis to serve and protect Manteca’s 69,000 residents.

“It is one thing to look over reports and talk about things such as the need to blend surface and well water and it is another to see how it is done,” Pinkerton said, adding the “City Manager Walks the Walk” sessions help him have a better understanding of what workers are up against.

The fact the city manager was taking an interest in how front-line workers do their job and to find out how things worked impressed Galloway.

“I’ve been with the city 15 years and this is the first time we’ve had (a city manager) come out like this,” he said.

Brian Maruca, another water crew member, noted that workers deal with about eight different meters since the city being a government agency has to go with the low-bid which may not always been the easiest meter to install and maintain.

Maruca noted that when they knocked on the door of a nearby residence to inform the owner that the water would be off for a short period of time while they did work, the gentleman loaned them two rain slickers.

“People are pretty nice,” Maruca said. “They appreciate what we do.”

Of course, that is a bit different on the day it falls on the water crews to shut off water for non-payment of municipal utility bills.

“They (people) do get angry and upset,” he said.

He noted water crews take the brunt of it because there is no real way to shut off sewer and simply stopping the collection of garbage wouldn’t force payment as shutting off water does.