For the third time in about as many years, the city of St. Clair finds itself looking for a public works director.
City Administrator Rick Childers told The Missourian on Monday that applications for the position now are being accepted at city hall after current Public Works Director Ed Bliss resigned late last week.
Bliss was hired last August.
“Once again, we’re looking for the best qualified person,” Childers said. “It’s never convenient to replace key personnel, but we can’t help feel good for our people when they get something better.”
In this case, it’s Bliss’ wife, Cassie, who got the better offer as the family will relocate to Florida for her job.
“It’s just too good to pass up,” Bliss said of his wife’s opportunity. “And it was unexpected. Thirty days ago, this (relocating) was not even a thought. All this was initiated by her business.”
Bliss will remain and work in St. Clair until sometime near the end of August.
In the meantime, the city will collect resumes and applications for the position. Childers said he is hopeful for an initial candidate review on Aug. 9.
In a nutshell, a public works director plans, organizes, directs and integrates a city’s public works and utilities activities and functions; provides assistance to city management in areas of expertise, including engineering, municipal water, wastewater collection and street and landscape maintenance; and performs related duties as required.
The salary range for the local position is $50,000 to $60,000. A bachelor of arts or science degree in civil engineering, construction management, business management or public administration is preferred. Direct management experience is required.
Bliss was hired about a year ago to replace Brian Otten, who resigned earlier in the year. Otten replaced Julia Mahurin in February 2011.
“‘I’ve enjoyed my time here, even though it’s been short,” Bliss said. “There are a lot of things going on, and I would have liked to have seen them to completion. We’ve been trying to get a lot of things done and trying to make some improvements. I think we’re on the right track.
“I will help position my department as best I can before I go.”
Bliss has spent a lot of his time this year working on improving the city’s wastewater system, which has not been updated in decades.
When Otten was hired in 2011, Bliss was the other finalist for the position at that time.
Childers also announced that a city position recently was filled with the hiring of Geoffrey Aslinger as the park department maintenance supervisor. His first day on the job was Monday.
He was introduced to St. Clair Park and Recreation Board members during their July meeting on Monday night.
Aslinger replaced longtime park department employee Gary Ward, who retired earlier this summer after 19 years on the job.
“I’ve been in this type of profession for about six years,” Aslinger told park board members. “I have a lot under my belt as far as grounds and maintenance. I look forward to being here.”
Aslinger previously has worked for the city of Washington as well as for East Central College in their grounds and maintenance departments.