On Monday in the Record Journal, there was an article titled “Zandri, Dickinson disagree on using contractors to get through storms”
At the end of the day, the options are "wait until the work is done by the staff we have" (which doesn't always work well in critical situations like blizzards and hurricanes), hire more people permanently by adding head count (which is a long term salary and benefits cost and can be impacted when there is less work to get done) or continue to use your existing workforce and have people contracted at a locked in bid rate to augment them and offer assistance during emergencies and “as needed”.
I choose the latter option and by working with the union members and management, we can come up with the right solution for all; a solution that gives Wallingford the flexibility to have staff augmentation at a known contracted rate for emergencies and if planned for correctly and with a well negotiated contract, you can have some of the hours roll over to a new year (allowing you to buy a smaller future contract). Also, knowing that bad spring storms are rare, remaining hours may all the town to get caught up on or ahead of schedule on planned projects by consuming contract hours before they expire.
You buy insurance, such as home, life, long term disability, or automobile, with the hopes of never using it; it is a hedge against an unforeseen problem or catastrophe. You expend the money on the policies, and effectively throw it away in most cases, for the security of being able to “pull the rip cord” on it if necessary.
Planning and working in advance of an emergency to correctly procure a well negotiated contract of support hours to augment existing staff for extraneous circumstances and emergencies when they occur is an insurance policy against being shorthanded during those emergencies.
If those emergency situations never occur during a contract period, you have the ability to leverage that support contract proactively near the end of the term to consume those support hours and get a direct benefit in having the “insurance” of the contract when no emergency ever occurred.
It is the best of all worlds.