McMinnville city employee Paul Williamson has been selected to be the new director of the city’s water and wastewater collection department.
Williamson has a 30-year career with the city. He was hired Sept. 10, 1984 as a water meter reader. Since that time, he has worked his way up and through the department, including working as sewer rehabilitation crew chief and construction maintenance supervisor.
“With 30 years of experience, there isn’t a lot I haven’t seen or smelled,” Williamson said, laughing. “I grew up with the city. I started when I was 18 years old. Really, all I’ve known is water and wastewater. It’s my goal to keep the department going in a positive direction.”
Along with his increasing responsibilities within the department, Williamson has three state certifications that make him qualified for the job – Water Distribution Class II, Wastewater Collection Class II, and Cross Connection. He also has an understanding of how difficult the job can be for individuals working for him.
“I have learned comradery is a plus, especially if you are in a trench 20 feet deep with human waste flowing through it,” said Williamson. “It’s good to have a sense of humor. What’s fun is when you are down there shoveling and a rock falls off the top and you get splashed in the face. It’s happened to me more than once.”
Williamson will take the reins from current director Bill Brock, who is also Public Works director and interim city administrator. Brock informed the city in September that his time is too restricted and he could not dedicate the necessary hours to the water department position that he’s held since September 2010.
Brock set the department on a path Williamson wants to continue.
“Since Bill has been our director, he has gotten us moving in a good direction,” Williamson said. “Since Bill became administrator, his duties have multiplied. It’s my goal to continue what Bill has started. Under his guidance, in the last four years we have completed five water line projects. We are working on a project on Cherry Lane right now.”
In tendering his resignation as water department director, Brock cited problems with meters as one of the reasons why he felt the department needed a full-time director who could dedicate eight hours a day to the job. He ordered staff to conduct a comprehensive inventory of the city’s 6,000 meters so the new director could use the information to locate all the problems and correct them.
Williamson says the audit is ongoing, as well as an ongoing sewer rehabilitation program that has been in place for years.
“We are going to take any problems found one at a time,” said Williamson.
Brock says the certifications held by Williamson are impressive.
“There are no Class III in the certifications,” he said. “Class II is as high as you can go and believe me, certifications in water are not easy to get. They are probably some of the toughest certifications to get, especially in filtration, treatment and distribution.”
As construction maintenance supervisor, Williamson oversaw 15 employees. Director of the department has a staff of approximately 30.
His first day as director has not been set.