SHERMAN - Despite a Facebook group claiming the contrary, the Sherman County Department of Public Facilities Shop will not be permanently closing its doors.
The Sherman County Shop is one of three shops in the county responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the county's roads, bridges and tunnels. It houses equipment necessary for keeping roads safe, including some of the county's snow plows.
The Facebook group, "Save the Sherman County Shop," popped up over the weekend, stating: "It has been announced that as of April 5th, 2013 the Sherman County shop will be closing." The group calls for residents to "save the Sherman shop" by reaching out to legislators and expressing their opinion.
Additionally, an anonymous release was obtained by the OBSERVER, claiming that the Public Facilities Shop will be closing. It stated that employees will be reassigned to county shops in Sheridan or Falconer. Again, the release called for the public to contact the county Legislature.
According to George Spanos, director of Public Facilities for the county, no shops are being closed. However, he said some changes have been proposed for the construction season, which begins in April.
Rumors about the shop closing were fueled, Spanos said, by an announcement notifying employees that the shop may possibly be closed for the construction season. The announcement comes following the retirement of the district supervisor in Sherman.
"We currently have three shops and we have three district supervisors. One of the district supervisors retired," Spanos said. "We are analyzing the possibility of eliminating the one position. We are not closing any shops. We are just evaluating to see if we can function with the two facilities."
Spanos also said the shop will continue functioning as usual throughout the snow and ice removal season as the analysis continues.
"We still have three supervisors at that location. But, you have the supervisors and you have the district supervisor. The only person that retired was the district supervisor," Spanos said. "So, for this period, for snow and ice removal, we don't foresee any changes. The changes that we are proposing are for during the construction season. That is what we are analyzing."
Depending on results from the analysis, if the shop were to shut down, Spanos said the operation would not need to be voted on by the county Legislature. Having a supervisor retire, though, provided the Department of Public Facilities the opportunity to analyze its operations to determine what is best in the county.
Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, said Spanos and County Executive Greg Edwards approached him about a month ago with plans for the Sherman Shop. Croscut said it is his understanding that the shop will be shut down in the summer months to save money and will be reopening next fall.
"But, they are not going to lay off any people," Croscut said. "The people that work there now, the summer crews, they will be meeting their crews either in Falconer or they will be going to Sheridan to pick up their work crews for summer. Then, back in the fall again, they will reopen it. They are still going to plow their snow from there, sand the roads and all of the normal winter maintenance. I want to make it really clear that they have no intention of closing the shop."
Once the analysis is completed, Spanos said the results will be made public as to what will be happening with the Sherman shop.
Attempts to reach the creator of the Facebook group were unsuccessful.