Continuing the family tradition of service in Public Works
The name on Karl Starling’s work shirt says Drew, his middle name because several of his colleagues working for the City of Palatka’s Public Works Department are called Karl. The shirts don’t list last names, but if they did, there would be confusion too. Two other Starlings work for Public Works, his father and uncle.
“My uncle Daniel has been here for 23 years, and my dad Elton, he’s been here for 24 years,” said Karl, “and I have basically grown up here.”
“I went to Palatka High School and Beasley (Middle School) before that, so I would ride into town with Dad and be around here before and after school,” he said, “I’ve seen how this place works. It’s not just Dad and Uncle Daniel; all the guys here are like my family.”
After high school, Karl moved to Jacksonville for about 12 years, but three years ago, he came home to both Palatka and Public Works, where he works as a mechanic.
“I work on everything from lawnmowers to fire trucks,” he said, “and I love it. It feels great to have something come in here broken, figure out what is wrong, and have it leave working great.”
“I care about Palatka; I am lucky to have a career here. It’s a great place to work,” he said.
“We have good benefits and all, but what I like the best is when you come here, you get opportunities you can’t at a regular garage or shop. They give you training and let you learn.” Karl said, “I have taken two automotive service classes, and for example, the City helped me get my CDL (commercial driver license).”
Training and professional development opportunities are accessible to every City staff member.
“The City invests in employees, not just to help us but to help them grow. We value our employees and want them to stay here to make a career out of working in Palatka,” said Public Works Director Del McMillen.
“Karl has worked hard to grow his career by leveling up his skill set,” said Public Works operations Manager Joe Verrechio,” and he has become a real asset to the City.”
“What I tell young people who start here is the City is a great learning experience. We have every field you can think of in Public Works. You could start doing one thing, and if you show that you can work hard, are willing to learn, and want to try another field, you can transfer.” said Karl.
“You have a great amount of opportunities here.” he continued, “I am happy to be home.”
City continues to replace waterlines in Palatka Heights
As part of the continuing project to replace potable waterlines in the City of Palatka, contractors will be working to replace 4 miles of lines in the Palatka Heights neighborhood, south of Diana Drive, east of Mosely Avenue, west of South 15th Street, and north of Twigg Street, starting the week of August 14.
The work is part of a multi-million dollar effort to replace the City’s aging infrastructure. In the last seven years, 18 miles of the City’s 66 miles of waterlines have been replaced.
Although the contractor will make every effort to minimize disruptions to residents, the work will mean temporary water shut-offs and road closures. This phase of the project is expected to take approximately two months to complete.
For any further inquiries or details, please contact City Hall at (386) 329-0100.
Back to School, safely
The Palatka Police Department would like to remind you that Putnam County School children returned to class last Thursday and to remember a few tips to keep everyone safe this school year.
Slow Down in School Zones: Reduced speed limits are in place for a reason – to protect our children. Slow down and be prepared to stop at any moment. Remember, even if you’re in a hurry, the safety of students always comes first.
Watch for Pedestrians: Be vigilant and watch out for children crossing the street, especially near crosswalks, bus stops, and school entrances. Always yield to pedestrians and make eye contact to ensure they see you.
Stop for School Buses: When a school bus stops and its red lights are flashing, traffic in both directions must come to a halt. No exceptions. Let’s ensure our students can board and exit the bus safely.
Obey Traffic Rules: Follow all traffic laws, including obeying traffic signals and signs. Avoid rolling through stop signs and running red lights – these actions can lead to tragic consequences.
Eliminate Distractions: Keep your focus on the road. Put away your phone, avoid eating, grooming, or any other distracting activities. A split second of inattention can have severe consequences.
Upcoming Work on St. Johns Avenue
Beginning the week of August 14, the contractor working on behalf of Florida Power and Light to replace the streetlights lining St. Johns Avenue in Palatka will use a compacting machine to smooth areas on the sidewalks and the street previously excavated during the project.
Although this phase of the project may cause temporary sidewalk closings, diversions to traffic, and some loud noise, every effort will be made to keep disruptions to a minimum. No long-term road closures are planned.
The installation of the lights is part of a larger multimillion-dollar project to make improvements to St. Johns Avenue in downtown Palatka that includes new landscaping, sidewalks, curbs, intersections, and benches.
The exact dates and scheduling of this work are subject to change.
For more information about the project, call City Hall at (386) 329-0100.
Join Our Team - Career Opportunities
The City of Palatka has job openings available for the following positions. If you are interested in any of the following roles, please consider applying:
Equipment Operator (Driver):
This role involves skilled work in operating manual and semi-automated refuse collection and disposal equipment on designated routes.
We are seeking dedicated firefighters to join the City of Palatka’s Fire Department and contribute to the safety and well-being of the community.
Human Resource Director:
The Human Resource Director will lead and direct the HR department, overseeing policies, activities, and staff. They will ensure legal compliance and implement the organization’s mission and talent strategy.
Human Resources Coordinator:
As a Human Resources Coordinator, you will perform professional and confidential administrative work. Your responsibilities will include coordinating employment policies and various aspects of human resources administration.
Join the Palatka Police Department as an officer and play a crucial role in maintaining law and order within the city.
In this position, you will perform routine manual refuse collection work as part of the city’s refuse collection and disposal program.
Sanitation Equipment Operator (Driver):
We are looking for skilled individuals to operate manual and semi-automated refuse collection and disposal equipment on designated routes.
As a Streets Laborer, you will perform various types of semi-skilled and skilled work, operating equipment involved in the repair and maintenance of city streets, storm sewer systems, and other municipal property.
Utility Maintenance Worker-Trainee:
This position involves semi-skilled work in constructing, installing, maintaining, and repairing water mains, water services, fire hydrants, sewer mains, sewer laterals, manholes, force mains, and valves.
Water Plant Mechanic:
Join our team as a Water Plant Mechanic and use your skills to perform preventative and corrective maintenance on machinery, engines, generators, pumps, and motors at the water treatment plant and related facilities.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee:
As a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee, you will be responsible for performing various semi-skilled and skilled tasks and operating equipment involved in the repair and maintenance of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and associated collection systems.
For more information or to apply for any of these positions, please visit Palatka-fl.gov.