Retirement Prompts Department Shuffle

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Retiring public works Director Steve May.  Photo by Leah Hall
Retiring public works Director Steve May.
Photo by Leah Hall

Two city departments will undergo reorganization at the end of the year due to the pending retirement of the longtime public works department director.

The City Council signed off on the transition last week when approving the city budget.

Public Works Director Steve May will retire Dec. 31 after 20 years on the job, responsible for capital improvement and construction projects, street lighting, trash collection, and maintenance of city parks, buildings, streets and vehicles, including trolleys, trucks, tractors and other equipment. The department is the city’s largest with a $19 million budget and 42 employees.

Since May gave advance notice of his departure, the city manager plans some management and operational shifts, according to the staff report.

Upon May’s exit, Ben Siegel, the current deputy city manager and director of community services, will take on a new title and different responsibilities as assistant city manager and director of public works.

A city engineer position will be added to the public works department, which will now include parking and transit services already overseen by Siegel in the community services department.

Meanwhile, Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson will assume oversight of the remaining community services, including recreation and social services, the swimming pool, community assistance grants and the homeless sleeping shelter. The department, with a budget of $8 million, currently employs 17.

When the dust settles, according to Finance Director Gavin Curran, the only budget modification is a one-time cost of $20,000 so the new city engineer can work alongside May for a month before he retires, allowing for a smoother transition.

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  1. We need to retire the entire public works department and get outside contractors to collect trash and polish the city hall fire hydrant. I could run the department for 25% of what the city pays, do a better job, and still make money. Ahhh but for the unions…


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