After directing public works in Palestine for more than 30 years, Tim Perry didn't let any grass grow under his feet after he retired from the city.
Perry's last day with the city, July 26, was also his first day of work as public works director for Athens, roughly 30 miles north of Palestine.
“I wasn't ready to put my feet up just yet,” Perry told the Herald-Press Thursday. “A friend of mine told me there were opportunities in Athens. This was just one of several options I considered.”
A self-taught man, Perry, 54, worked as an equipment operator, truck driver, street foreman, street superintendent, and interim public works supervisor while with Palestine.
When he retired, the city was still grappling with multiple projects, including street repairs and a water treatment facility that does not comply with state standards.
In Palestine, Perry was directly responsible for everything pertaining to streets, water, infrastructure, sewer, wastewater, and more. In Athens, he said, although he has a full plate, his job is much different.
“My duties include supervising streets, storm drainage, garbage collection, and parks – which includes the airport,” Perry said. “It's going to make my job a lot easier with [Utilities Director] Randy Williams here, taking care of the water and wastewater.”
The Athens City Council, Perry said, recently unveiled its 'master plan' for the city. Perry is excited about it.
“There are some good, hard-working people here, from the council on down,” Perry said. “They want to do good, and they have plans for success. I believe my experience will be able to help.”
At $93,000 a year, Perry was one of the highest-paid city employees in Palestine. His pay in Athens, he said, is comparable.
Palestine Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press Athens will definitely profit from Perry's ability to save a buck.
“Tim can save money like nobody else,” he said. “He saved Palestine an enormous amount of money, just with his ability to find the best deals. I wish him the very best.”
Calls to Athens City Manager Elizabeth Borstad, and Palestine interim City Manager Leslie Cloer were not returned.