City appoints director of reenvisioned Public Works Agency

Dave Stoneback was appointed the new director of Evanston’s Public Works Agency. Stoneback, currently the director of the city’s Utilities Department, will work to reorganize public works and utilities operations under a single agency.

Source: City of Evanston

Dave Stoneback was appointed the new director of Evanston’s Public Works Agency. Stoneback, currently the director of the city’s Utilities Department, will work to reorganize public works and utilities operations under a single agency.

Julia Jacobs, City Editor

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The city announced Tuesday the director of its new Public Works Agency, tasked with reorganizing the department’s operations by the end of this year.

Dave Stoneback — currently the director of the city’s Utilities Department — will lead the new agency, which combines public works and utilities functions, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz announced. The restructured Public Works Agency will contain four bureaus: water production, environmental services, infrastructure maintenance as well as capital planning and engineering, assistant city manager Marty Lyons said last month when he presented the concept to City Council.

Stoneback has led the Utilities Department since 2010, following his seven-year term as the city’s water superintendent, Bobkiewicz said. During his 30 years working for Evanston, Stoneback served as the architect for the 12-year sewer improvement plan — the city’s largest public works project in history.

Most recently, Stoneback has been working toward water sale agreements between Evanston and surrounding cities as they gravitate away from Chicago’s increasingly expensive stock.

“Dave Stoneback brings a unique mix of engineering, management and infrastructure experience to this new position,” Bobkiewicz said in a press release. “He is the right person to lead the city’s public works operations as we begin a new chapter.”

Stoneback is currently interviewing candidates for the agency’s four bureau chiefs, who he said will likely be announced within a week. Stoneback said he will then focus on working with the chiefs to further define the purpose of each bureau and the job descriptions of its staff.

Evanston’s public works and utilities operations were combined into one agency five years ago, Bobkiewicz said. But in 2010, Bobkiewicz said there was a growing need for a larger focus on water sales, which led him to divide the departments and appoint Stoneback as director of utilities.

In the current climate of uncertainty over state funding, Bobkiewicz directed his staff to consider the potential for recombining the departments to boost efficiency. Those staff members presented the vision for a unified Public Works Agency to City Council last month.

The bureau chiefs will be granted more freedom to act autonomously from division managers below them, which will allow Stoneback to focus on bigger picture issues as director, Bobkiewicz told The Daily.

“The idea with the agency is that we’re empowering the next level, the four bureau managers, to have more day-to-day responsibility and authority,” Bobkiewicz said.

Stoneback said he aims to return stability to the redefined agency following the reorganization of staff this past summer, instituted to analyze the potential department consolidation. Stoneback said the new agency should be ready to operate — hopefully even more smoothly than before — by Jan. 1, when the city enters its next fiscal year.

“There are a lot of opportunities there that hopefully I can bring my 30 years of experience and knowledge to,” he said.

Email: juliajacobs2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @juliarebeccaj

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