Decatur’s Public Works Director Earl Smith leaving for League City

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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Decatur Public Works Director and City Engineer Earl Smith has submitted his resignation after nearly eight years with the city.

Earl Smith

Smith will start next month as Director of Engineering for League City, a city of 88,000 on Interstate Highway 45 between Houston and Galveston.

“I’m very happy for him and very sad for the City of Decatur,” City Manager Brett Shannon said after the news was announced Monday. “He’s been a great public works director, a great employee and a great engineer. I consider him a friend.”

Smith, who started in Decatur Oct. 1, 2006, oversaw the city’s water and wastewater departments, streets and parks. He was named public servant of the year in 2011 by the Decatur Economic Development Corp. and the Decatur Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to coming to Decatur, he worked in similar positions for 13 years in Paris and six years in Weatherford.

He gave the city 30 days’ notice, but Shannon said it will not be easy to fill his shoes.

“It’s not a position you can fill in 30 days,” he said. “It will probably be the end of October, at the earliest, before somebody can be in the office, and it could be later, depending on the quality of applicants.”

The job was posted Friday on the city’s web site, and Shannon said it is also being advertised in the Messenger and on the Texas Municipal League’s web site.

He said Smith has promised to help him review applications and to offer any other help he can, as needed. He and his wife, Brandy, are planning on moving this month.

League City is located mostly in Galveston County, with a small portion in Harris county.

Shannon said moving from Decatur to a city of nearly 90,000 people was an opportunity he simply could not pass up. He said Smith definitely leaves the city better than he found it.

“He’s done a lot of things, both above and below ground, that have benefitted the city,” Shannon said. “We’ve undertaken some pretty major projects while he’s been here, both in the water-sewer department and the street department.

“Earl has really good people skills,” he added. “He’s very cooperative, a good engineer, planner and communicator.”

Shannon noted that staff training has been a particular strongpoint during Smith’s tenure. Consequently, he leaves the city with strong people in every area.

“He’s got good people in place, and they’re well-trained,” Shannon said. “He’s done a good job mentoring them, and they should be able to carry on during the interim.”

The job posting on the city’s web site calls for someone who can “manage and direct the staff, resources, projects, activities pertaining to the development, engineering, construction, and maintenance of city facilities, drainage, streets, parks, inspection, water and sewer production and distribution.”

Applicants are required to have a broad knowledge in the field of engineering and be a Licensed Professional Engineer or be able to obtain that registration within six months. The job requires at least six years experience – five as a practicing professional engineer and at least two in the capacity of a municipal engineer. Supervisory experience is also required.

Salary depends on qualifications.

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