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updated: 1/3/2014 12:57 PM

Carpentersville employee living at work during snowstorm

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  • Jack Clifton of the Carpentersville Public Works Department knows what it's like to work a major snowstorm, so he's prepared with a cot set up in his office. He spent more than 48 hours straight on the job this week, sleeping in his office between routes driving a snowplow. He estimates he and the rest of the public works crew put in at least 450 man-hours during this week's storm.

       Jack Clifton of the Carpentersville Public Works Department knows what it's like to work a major snowstorm, so he's prepared with a cot set up in his office. He spent more than 48 hours straight on the job this week, sleeping in his office between routes driving a snowplow. He estimates he and the rest of the public works crew put in at least 450 man-hours during this week's storm.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Jack Clifton, Carpentersville's street superintendent, adds up the time sheets of the other public works employees who have put in many hours keeping the roads clear this week. He estimates he and the rest of the public works crew put in at least 450 man-hours cleaning up after this week's snowstorm.

       Jack Clifton, Carpentersville's street superintendent, adds up the time sheets of the other public works employees who have put in many hours keeping the roads clear this week. He estimates he and the rest of the public works crew put in at least 450 man-hours cleaning up after this week's snowstorm.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

Since a snowstorm sacked the suburbs on New Year's Eve, Jack Clifton has lived at work -- surviving on Diet Pepsi, coffee and power naps he takes on a cot in his office.

That's just how it goes for Clifton, Carpentersville's streets superintendent who works as a liaison between the public works department and residents during major snowstorms.

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"I'm hoping to go home sometime late tonight," he said Thursday. "If not, whenever I get there. My house isn't going anywhere."

Twenty-six public works department employees put in at least 450 man-hours handling the storm's aftermath, officials said.

Clifton, 51, runs snow command, tracks the weather patterns and jumps in a snowplow if necessary. He also answers residents' compliments and complaints on snow removal; so far, he's about even on both.

"This line of work you get very few compliments as well, but there are people out there that appreciate the job we do," said Clifton, who has held his job in Carpentersville for 10 years.

He grabs a two-hour snooze every 30 hours on his cot, enough to get him through another 24 to 30 hours of work.

"I've been in this business for almost 34 years, so my body's used to it," said Clifton, who is also in charge of parks and fleet maintenance.

The formula appears to work.

Police Cmdr. Timothy Bosshart says the streets are in good shape and that there were no major accidents to report. Public Works Director Bob Cole credits Clifton as well as the entire public works staff for a job well done.

"They've all chipped in, they've been phenomenal," Cole said.

The cot previously belonged to Cole, and he passed it onto Clifton, who pulls it out whenever he needs to say on the job for an extended period.

"Every snow, every ice event, Jack is here and Jack stays until the last plow is put away," Cole said.

For Clifton, it's all about doing good work.

"Honestly, it's a job I enjoy and love," he said. "(Cole's) a fantastic person to work for, and we have a good village manager and a good village board that supports us. It's a good place to work."

• Daily Herald staff photographer Christopher Hankins contributed to this report

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