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Elkhart County Landfill forced to cut hours due to staff shortages

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The Elkhart County Landfill has been forced to cut back its operating hours, effective immediately, due to major staffing shortages, manager John Bowers told the county commissioners Monday.

The landfill used to be open from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturdays during the summer and fall.

But Bowers said those hours require two shifts, and that the landfill doesn’t have enough employees to do that.

Currently, it’s down four operators — the landfill has tried to hire for two open positions for the past six months, but two more operators just left with a third expected to retire before the end of the year.

In order for the landfill to stay in compliance with its state permit, Bowers said hours needed to be cut back so workers could be consolidated into a single shift.

“I’m going to say recommending, but I’m telling you we need to do this,” Bowers said.

The commissioners approved those changes.

“We take this very seriously,” commissioner Suzie Weirick said. “Especially when our license to keep the landfill open is threatened.”

The landfill’s hours are now 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and several Saturdays in May have been eliminated.

Bowers said he hopes to get back to normal “as quickly as possible,” and has seven interviews lined up this week. Still, training people takes time — so he encouraged anyone interested to apply.

According to a post on LinkedIn, the pay for the full-time positions ranges between $21.42 and $23.80 an hour, with benefits.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.