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Bellevue without public works director

By Heather Graves

BELLEVUE – The village is once again seeking a Department of Public Works director after the position was left vacant by David Betts.

Village Administrator Diane Wessel said she could not comment regarding the circumstances of Betts’ departure.

Betts was hired in August 2017 to replace former director Bill Balke, who held the position from 2008 until April 2017.

Betts came to Bellevue from Cook County, Minnesota, where he served as the county’s highway engineer for seven years.

In 2017, the village retained the recruitment services of Public Administration Associates, LLC, which cost approximately $7,500.

The board agreed unanimously at its meeting May 22 not to seek outside assistance in its search this time around.

“We really need to hire a public works director, but I’m not in favor of hiring a company to go find us someone,” said Board President Steve Soukup. “I think staff can find some great candidates. But I do think we need to get the process started.”

According to the job description, the public works director is responsible for all public works department services, activities, divisions and sections, including administration, engineering, streets, water, sewer, storm water, sanitation, fleet/facility as well as recommending and administrating policies and procedures.

The current department structure includes a public works director that oversees a utility superintendent, operations manager, engineer technician and six laborers.

The search for DPW director candidates is somewhat complicated, said Andrew Vissers, director of Community Development, because the position requires technical expertise as well as the ability to manage and engage employees and the public.

“Our last two individuals have not been great communicators, especially when it comes to delegation,” said Trustee Tom Katers.

Board members had some concerns about how the department has been run in the past and the breakdown in communication.

“We don’t have a good track record,” said Trustee Dave Kaster. “Maybe we should reevaluate the job description before hiring someone. I have never seen good things happen that are rushed.”

The board voted unanimously to get the process started and post the position.

Wessel will bring back a proposal for the hiring process to the board at its next meeting June 12.

Trustees will look more at the job description at this time.

In the interim, until a new director is in place, the village has retained public works director services from Cedar Corporation to help handle the engineering aspects of the job.

Other village staff will be handling the position’s other responsibilities.

DPW director isn’t the only position the village is looking to fill.

The village is also looking to hire an engineering technician, full-time/temporary administrative assistant, firefighter (part-time) as well as many seasonal/temporary positions.

For more information visit the village’s website at villageofbellevue.org.

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