Montevallo creates public works department

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, February 10, 2009

City leaders announced at Monday’s city council meeting that they have dissolved its streets and sanitation and parks and recreation departments in favor of a public works department.

Mayor Ben McCrory said the decision helps the city avoid layoffs. Twenty employees from both disbanded departments will be cross-trained to ease the transition, which means individual job responsibilities will change.

“(The dissolution) could very well protect jobs down the road if we cross-train people to do different things,” McCrory said. “We did this to better utilize our workforce and better utilize our resources in terms of people, talent and equipment.”

The new public works department will oversee the upkeep of city parks, streets, sidewalks and waste management. The city’s Program on Aging and arbor and beautification board also fall under the public works umbrella.

McCrory said David Belk, former streets and sanitation director, will serve as public works director. Kirk Hamby, former parks and recreation director, will serve as assistant public works director.

McCrory said the several cities have dissolved departments to battle the weakening economy. He added the decision will not affect employee salaries.

“We feel this is in the best interest of the city. We can accomplish more as one unit,” McCrory said.

In other news:

The city has submitted a wish list to the Alabama League of Municipalities regarding President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package. The list was also sent to State Sen. Hank Erwin, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus and U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions. McCrory hopes Montevallo benefits from the package.