Under the Dome

Cutting a swath: Correctional officer rode lawnmower to work

All the plows and cruisers on the roads are evidence that government employees must venture into the snow on even the worst days.

Though they’re not as visible, state hospital workers and prison correctional officers are needed at their jobs, too.

Thomas McCall, a correctional officer at the Foothills Correctional Institute in Morganton wanted to get to work Thursday morning, but knew his truck wouldn’t make it. So he turned to Plan B, his riding lawnmower.

McCall lives 12 miles from work. This morning, it took him 2 1/2 hours to get there.

“I didn’t expect it to take that long either,” he said. “About 30 minutes in, I realized it might not be a good idea.”

McCall, who has worked for the state for about six years and at Foothills for nearly three, said he settled on the alternative transportation plan Wednesday night because he knows that workers feel absences when their co-workers are out.

“It was an experience,” McCall said. “I don’t want to repeat it any time soon.”

He was planning to catch a ride home.

It’s hard to know how many state workers made it into their workplaces – somehow – on Thursday.

Nearly three-quarters of the employees in the state Department of Public Safety, or about 18,500 of 25,400 permanent positions, are considered essential employees.

The department won’t know how many worked Thursday until they report their time.