Changes to Public Works Will Bring Engineering Director

It was revealed at the City Council meeting 14 that the city is reorganizing its public works department.

City Manager Kelcey Young announced Public Works Director Greg Springman will be changing his role with the city in a move to create a Public Works Director/City Engineer position. He will be an interim assistant public works director as new hire Shukri Sharabi steps into the head position.

According to Young, Sharabi has worked in Nevada, California and Washington with experience in building a wastewater treatment plant, building multiple roads, obtaining grants and working with relevant software programs. He has family in Oregon.

Springman will remain with the city, but staff are still penciling out what his title, responsibilities and pay will look like. Mainly, though, he will now focus on operating the new challenges at the water treatment plant and overseeing the construction of the wastewater treatment plant facility.

“Greg came into the City of Sweet Home almost seven years ago and in that time has done absolutely incredible things for the city of Sweet Home,” Young said.

She thanked Springman for his dedication to oversee recent challenges in his department. Young noted that in the seven years Springman has been with the city, he has revamped the Public Works department, improved morale, built Sankey Park, assisted with Paint the Town, and worked through the challenges of the failing wastewater treatment plant, in addition to managing the increased responsibilities at the water treatment plant from the unexpected results of the Green Peter drawdown.

“There is no area of Sweet Home that Greg Springman hasn’t touched and improved. I think everyone in Sweet Home should be eternally grateful to Greg,” she said.

City Manager Kelcey Young hands gifts of sunflower pins to some of the Beautification Committee (from left, Patty Holk, Phyllis Osborn-Smith, Bonnie Healy and Candy Snyder), who were present at the May 14 City Council meeting. Photo by Sarah Brown

After the city lost its manager at the water and wastewater treatment plants, as well as a staff engineer, it made sense to reorganize related positions, Young said. Springman is not an engineer but does have a background in water and wastewater, and he offered to step into a role that will allow him to direct those facilities as they face expansion and challenges from the Green Peter drawdown. This made it possible for the city to look for an engineering director.

Young explained that as the city sees more development, the need for an engineering director is becoming more critical. With the change in staffing positions, the city council approved an update to the salary schedule. Currently, the schedule offers $5,908-6,911 for a staff engineer and $7,856-9,189 for a public works director. The new schedule offers $9,083-10,833 for a combined public works director/city engineer position. As such, Young estimated a savings of about $67,000 per year. Springman’s new position and salary has not yet been determined.

In the future, as the budget allows, the city can bring back the staff engineer role for additional support, she said.

“Not only have you built a great team, (but) you’ve brought all of the management of our water and wastewater in-house, which has saved us a million dollars a year,” Mayor Susan Coleman said.

Other councilors also expressed gratitude to Springman for his contribution to the community. Councilor Lisa Gourley noted she appreciated his work ethic and integrity, and the confidence she felt being able to trust his advice.

In other business:

  • Coleman proclaimed Mental Health Awareness Month;
  • The council approved a resolution limiting claims arising from recreational use of public trails and structures;
  • The council set an executive session meeting for May 21 pertaining to the behavior of one or more council persons;
  • The council honored members of the Beautification Committee with gifts for their annual work maintaining the median strips along Highway 20. “The Beautification Committee has been serving the community of Sweet Home for a very long time, making our medians beautiful,” Coleman noted.