May 18, 2009 – The City of Knoxville is pleased this week to recognize a group of unsung employees whose work touches the lives of everyone in the City – the men and women of the City’s Public Works Department.
This week, May 17-23, marks the 49th observance of National Public Works Week, an effort to recognize the employees who keep our towns, cities, counties and states in good working order.
“This is a group of employees that doesn’t get a lot of credit,” said Mayor Bill Haslam, “but they are the ones who make sure our City is clean, patch the potholes, pave roads, repair and build sidewalks, design roads and flood control projects, inspect buildings, keep up our parks and greenways, plant trees, install and maintain traffic signals and so many other things.”
“You almost can’t list all of the duties assigned to Public Works on a daily basis,” Haslam said. “We’re very proud of their efforts and are grateful to them for keeping Knoxville running and making a difference in the lives of our citizens.”
Mayor Haslam will present a proclamation recognizing 2009 National Public Works Week during a brief ceremony at 9 a.m., Thursday, May 21, on Volunteer Landing.
The City’s Public Works Department is comprised of 424 employees and includes Engineering, Plans Review & Inspections and Public Service.
Engineering, divided into Civil, Stormwater and Traffic Divisions, performs engineering and technical services for City departments including design work and contract administration for all of the City’s streets, sidewalks, drainage infrastructure, bridges, traffic signals and various public works.
Plans Review & Inspections promotes quality development and neighborhood preservation and safety through its review, permitting and inspections efforts.
Public Service includes Solid Waste, Street Maintenance, Facilities Maintenance, Horticulture and Neighborhood Codes Enforcement Divisions and does everything from collecting leaves to recycling, planting trees and mowing, keeping buildings, parks, ball fields and greenways in quality condition, preparing for and cleaning up after things like Sundown in the City, Booms day and host of other events and festivals.
The department also administers the City’s household garbage collection contract and the Solid Waste Division also supports strong recycling programs and is heavily involved in efforts like thermometer exchanges, unwanted medicine and electronics collections and zero-waste events in Knoxville.
Steve King is the director of the City of Knoxville’s Public Works Department while Brent Johnson is director of its Engineering Division; Gary Norman is Inspections Director and David Brace is the deputy director of the Public Service Division.
Ultimately, King said the bulk of public works center on basic services that touch our customer’s lives each and every day and often without them even knowing it.
“City Public Works provides those daily services that our customers often don’t think about,” according to King. “Our role is most often behind the scenes, but critical to the health, safety and quality of life in Knoxville.”
More information about the City of Knoxville’s Public Works Department is available at www.cityofknoxville.org/publicworks/