Albany workers brave the cold for paychecks


ALBANY, N.Y.--Many city workers don't have a choice but to brave the cold this week as temperatures fall.

Tom Pfeiffer, who has been working for the City of Albany for 28-years said "if you keep working, you stay pretty warm".

Pfeiffer is the head of the Forestry Department, and throughout the week, he was out in the frozen trenches with his crews.

"Double pair of socks on. I've got long johns underneath my pants. I've got two shirts. I've got a fleece vest underneath, and my Carhartt jacket and gloves and hat and pullover," Pfeiffer explained.

He said, even after decades on the job, you never get used to cold but you manage it, and make the best of it.

"And if that doesn't work, you jump back in the truck and get warm."

Lemo Young, City Supervisor for Washington Park for 15 years is gets bundled up and ready to brace the cold in these below-freezing temperatures. However, the bone chilling cold doesn't bother him either.

"The city supplies us with various things we need anyway, hats, gloves, good jacket, I'm warm underneath," Young explained. "It's a team effort up here, ya know? And when it gets cold, we go inside and warm up."

Even employees with unique jobs like Vernon Dortch, a Liberty Tax "Statue of Liberty", wore about five layers under his costume this week as he danced in the cold.

Dortch is also a war vet and said he dresses as Lady Liberty, but not just for the fun of standing out in the cold.

"I just do this now for some money. A little somethin' somethin'," said Dortch.

Dortch is a disabled Army Veteran from the 82nd Airborne Division, serving as a field wireman in the 1970's and 80's during the Iraq/Iran conflict. The New York City native, now working 20 hours a week in Albany as Lady Liberty, is saving money for college.

Dortch said he wants to install solar panels on buildings, but before he starts Hudson Valley Community College in the summer, he has to sell some Tax preparation help.

"Yesterday was cold. -4. I couldn't come out here. It was too cold. Today, the sun is shining so I'll give it a shot," he said.

Dortch said he usually stayed 15 minutes outside, 10 minutes inside, throughout the day, to stay warm.

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