Government Job Profile: Street Maintenance Supervisor

What Does a Street Maintenance Supervisor Do?

road construction crew
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Maintenance crews keep public roadways clean and repaired. Among other things, crews make roads smoother, lanes markers visible and street signs stand upright. Vehicles and pedestrians go from place to place safer and more quickly because of the ​work street maintenance crews do. These crews work under the leadership of street maintenance supervisors.

The Selection Process

Street maintenance supervisors are hired through the normal government hiring process.

While street maintenance jobs are more prevalent in city and county government, they exist at all levels of government. The hiring manager is usually the street superintendent, but depending on the size of the city or county, it could be the public works director or an assistant street superintendent.

These jobs are prime promotional opportunities for street maintenance workers with demonstrated leadership skills. These can be very competitive hiring processes since street maintenance workershave few promotional opportunities within the organization.

Organizations like to promote from within the organization for street maintenance supervisor positions. Internal candidates know the inner workings of the street maintenance area and therefore take less time to train. When someone sees a co-worker promoted, it can increase their motivation to perform well which is a boon to the organization. As with any selection, internal candidates who are not selected can be demotivated and might start seeking employment elsewhere if they believe they have reached their highest possible status within their current organization.

The Education and Experience You Need

Job postings for street maintenance supervisor positions tend to require a combination of some college coursework and several years of experience in engineering, construction or public works. Employees under this position’s supervision need a technical expert who can solve practical problems, so experience tends to trump education in the hiring process.

In their previous employment, candidates for street maintenance supervisor positions should demonstrate leadership experience. For some, it may be evident from a job title like lead worker or crew leader. Even so, candidates should describe in their application materials how they have taken a leadership role at various times in their work. For example, a street maintenance worker applying for a promotion would describe times training new workers, planning a maintenance project or acting in a supervisor’s stead.

What You'll Do

Street maintenance supervisors directly manage street maintenance crews. These crews undertake maintenance projects on and around streets. Examples of work they do include filling in potholes, repairing malfunctioning traffic signals, constructing sidewalks, erecting signage, mowing grassy medians and restriping lanes.

At times, they are required to go out in inclement weather. When storms cause debris to block roadways, street maintenance crews remove these impediments so emergency vehicles can get where they need to go. Crews also clear away debris after inclement weather has passed. Storms often cause traffic signals to malfunction and street signs to fall over.

The task of righting these issues falls to street maintenance crews. Supervisors work with their management to prioritize repair needs in coordination with other departments.

In some organizations, a street maintenance supervisor functions as the lead employee on a maintenance crew. In other organizations, they do not get their hands dirty on every maintenance project. Rather, they supervise several crews that each have a crew leader or lead worker who oversees the work when the supervisor is not on site. If this overseer cannot resolve an issue that arises, that person elevates the decision to the supervisor. Such decisions tend to be of a technical nature, so supervisors must be knowledgeable on how to accomplish the tasks they assign their crews.

While it is the responsibility of every person on a street maintenance crew to act safely, the supervisor monitors subordinate to ensure they carry out this responsibility in every task they perform.

Unsafe behavior by one worker puts at risk their safety, their co-workers’ safety and the safety of citizens passing by the worksite.

What You'll Earn

Like most supervisory positions in government, street maintenance supervisors tend to earn a little more than their direct reports. Street maintenance workers earn a salary commensurate with those in the private sector who do similar work as unskilled and semi-skilled laborers.