Water Utilities Director Ricky Dickson will be promoted to the new role of executive director of Public Works, a reorganization that melds the City Council’s two top priorities – water and streets – and takes full advantage of Dickson’s managerial experience in the two departments he will oversee – Water Utilities and Operations.
Dickson will assume his new role providing oversight of the Water Utilities and Operations departments on Nov. 1. The City of San Angelo has begun actively searching for a Water Utilities director. Dickson will also serve in that role until his successor is hired.
The reorganization will ensure greater coordination between the two departments responsible for much of San Angelo’s public infrastructure. City Manager Daniel Valenzuela said the new position will also allow a sharper focus on planning and implementing infrastructure improvements, particularly those involving water.
The Operations Department manages the divisions that maintain streets and bridges, traffic controls, parks, Lake Nasworthy, stormwater infrastructure and vehicle maintenance. Operations is also responsible for solid waste services, including the landfill. Water Utilities administers the Water Production, Water Distribution, Wastewater Collection, Water Quality, Utility Maintenance, Water Customer Service and Twin Buttes divisions.
Operations Director Shane Kelton and the new Water Utilities director will report to Dickson, who will report to Valenzuela.
Additionally, the City’s two engineering divisions – in the Water Utilities and the Planning & Development Services departments – will be merged into one division that will report to the Public Works executive director. That move will also yield efficiencies while allowing Planning & Development Services to focus on its core mission. The City Council also adopted as one of its five priorities improving development processes.
Following a four-month stint as interim director, Dickson was appointed to serve as Water Utilities director in March 2013. He previously served as operations director of Public Works from 1994-2004, when he was named assistant director of Public Works. He was tabbed to lead the new Operations Department following a departmental reorganization in 2007. He began his career with the City in 1990, working in Water Distribution/Waste Water Collection. Dickson is a certified public manager.
Many Texas cities have public works departments that maintain infrastructures associated with water and streets. The City Council in June established as its top two priorities water (both its acquisition and the replacement of leaking mains) and street maintenance.
Valenzuela said he is considering other changes to the organizational structure to mine greater efficiencies and to allow a tighter focus on core missions among other City departments. Any further changes will be implemented by Dec. 1, Valenzuela said.