A measure to fill the position of Water and Sewer Department director has been tabled after hearing supportive comments from employees who want the department to remain under the guidance of city Public Works director Bill Brock.
The item was under consideration Tuesday by Water and Sewer Committee members Aldermen Jimmy Bonner, chairman, Billy Wood and Mike Neal.
“As we know, Carl Davis has been gone for five years,” said Bonner. “Bill has had this position. Bill, now that he is becoming interim city administrator, he has a lot on his plate.”
If Brock is named interim city administrator, which will require one more passing vote before the full board Tuesday, that will be added to the lengthy list of his responsibilities – director over Public Works, Water and Sewer, Street Aid, Sanitation, Animal Control, Urban Forestry and the City Garage.
“I think we should go ahead and move the Water and Sewer Department out from under Bill,” said Bonner. “I think that would be the best thing to do. We could post this in-house, like we did with the Fire Department director, to see if anyone’s interested and qualified.”
Wood says the cost of the position is not in the budget for fiscal year 2014-15.
“When Bill took this over, we gave him an additional $3,800 a year,” said Wood. “You are talking about $70,000 plus with a department head.”
When asked what the former director was making at the time of his death, city recorder Shirley Durham stated, “He was making in the $80s. With benefits, it was probably over $100,000.”
Davis was with the city for 38 years and 25 of those years were as director of the department.
Alderman Ben Newman added, “So we could be looking at between $80,000 and $100,000, benefits included, to fill that position.”
At the meeting were the three main individuals who work for Brock in the Water and Sewer Department – Water Treatment Plant manager Ricky Morton, Wastewater Plant manager Tony Myers, and Water and Sewer maintenance supervisor Paul Williamson.
The three were asked their opinions.
“My honest opinion is the Water Department is doing well under Bill’s direction,” said Myers. “I have no problem working for Bill. I say leave it the way it is.”
“When Carl passed away, David Rutherford let us all three come to the staff meetings and it worked really well,” said Morton. “Once the department was passed onto Bill, we continued that. To me, Bill has done an excellent job. He has been willing to learn and he lets me do my job. As far as I know, he lets these other guys do their jobs. My opinion is leave it like it is. Bill does a great job. I love it the way it is now.”
Williamson says the department is progressive under Brock’s leadership.
“Since Mr. Brock has been our director, we have acquired a new dump truck, new backhoe, new service truck, we’ve completed five water projects and just completed a $500,000 CDBG grant on the north side of town. I think the department is going the direction it needs to go, but that’s just my opinion.”
Newman questioned the city receiving a second grant for improvements in the Water Department, to which Williamson stated, “Yes, we have.”
“These guys are happy campers,” said Wood. “You never hear anyone complaining.”
Bonner stated, “It’s not about complaints. It’s about Bill having too much on him. I just felt that we could pass one of those responsibilities off to someone else.”
Brock denied that he has too much on him.
“Let me tell you, I’m not overworked,” said Brock. “Maybe I’m just a work-a-holic. I work better in this situation. Believe me, if I get overworked, you are going to be the first ones to hear about it because things are going to start dropping off and falling through the cracks. I don’t like that so I will bring it to your attention.”
Neal asked the measure to be tabled in order to give committee members time to consider all the information and comments made during the meeting before making a decision.