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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

City to go without Public Works director

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

(Photo)
Steve Lee, the Sikeston Public Works Street Division director, looks over a drainage project.
SIKESTON - Sikeston does not have a public works director and it may not need one.

In January the former director of public works, Tom Bridger, was transferred to the Department of Public Safety in what City Manager Doug Friend described as an internal lateral move to fill a newly-created position at the Department of Public Safety, emergency management coordinator.

Friend said the move was made to address the recent emphasis on grant money available for security. City officials had originally intended to fill the vacant director of public works position but have now decided on another course.

"What we're doing is not replacing that position of director of the department of public works for about a seven- or eight-month trial period," Friend said. "It is kind of an experiment at this point."

Duties formerly handled by the director of public works will be divided between three existing division heads: Steve Lee, street superintendent; Jiggs Moore, parks director; and Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator.

City officials began considering the idea of running the city without a public works director during the budget preparation process "and they were willing to take on those extra duties," Friend said.

Lee will handle street contracts and day-to-day operations of the street division, city maintenance issues and issues related to the city's airport.

Hardy's role in addition to supervising code enforcement officers and managing rental ordinance issues will now include planning and zoning business.

Moore will continue to take care of day-to-day and planning matters for the city's parks, Clinton Building and cemetery and will also be responsible for solid waste issues.

With spring and summer being the busiest seasons for the affected divisions, Friend said this is the perfect opportunity to try the idea out and see if it works.

"It's when every division will be at its peak," Friend said. "It should give us a fair assessment of how this could work. Then in November or December we'll sit down, reflect, evaluate, see if we need to make this a permanent setup.

"Council is strongly supportive of going through this evaluation period," Friend added. Both Council members and staff believe it will provide better service to Sikeston's residents, according to Friend.

He noted those who are taking on the additional duties have plenty of experience both with their specific jobs and the city in general whereas if a new director of public works was hired by the city it may take her or him six to seven months to get up to speed.

Both Friend and the division heads taking on the new responsibilities said they are confident this will streamline city business.

"If the public has a problem, we're able to receive that directly from them," said Lee. "The public is going to receive a quicker response through direct contact."

"The quicker we find out what needs to be done, the quicker it can be addressed," Hardy agreed.

* For street, city maintenance or airport issues call Steve Lee at 471-5100 or send e-mail to streets@sikeston.org.

* For issues related to the city's parks, the Clinton Building, the city cemetery or solid waste call Jiggs Moore at 472-3775 or e-mail parks@sikeston.org.

* For code enforcement, rental ordinance or planning and zoning matters call Trey Hardy at 471-2186 or e-mail thardy@sikeston.org.