After 32 years of filling potholes, driving trucks, and keeping utilities flowing in Palestine, Public Works Director Tim Perry announced his retirement today, effective July 26.
“Tim Perry has been an enormous asset to the city of Palestine,” Mayor Steve Presley told the Herald-Press. “Throughout his long career, he has saved the city untold millions of dollars with his creative and innovative ability to solve problems affecting our street, water, and sewer systems.
“He could stretch a dollar further than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
City Manager Leslie Cloer told the Herald Press the city might not fill Perry's vacant position this year.
“We are going to take a little time to evaluate staffing needs with the Public Works Department,” she said. “Our infrastructure...needs to be a priority for this fiscal year. We want to take a little time to evaluate our options, and what positions are most needed.”
Meantime, Cloer said, Deputy Director Rob Thames will take charge of streets; Deputy Director Felipe Garcia will oversee the water department.
Perry made his career with the city in a way that today is increasingly rare: He started at the bottom and worked his way to the top. Perry started with the city in 1987 as a temporary maintenance worker.
Rising through the ranks during the following decades, Perry worked numerous jobs in the Public Works Department, including equipment operator, truck driver, streets foreman, streets superintendent, and interim public works director.
Perry's retirement comes as the city grapples with multiple projects, including street repairs and a water treatment facility that does not comply with state standards.
Cloer said she hopes city residents will be patient during the transition in public works.
“We appreciate your patience as we lose an employee who has been involved in so many of the city's projects over his tenure with the city of Palestine,” she said.