public works director says goodbye

Public Works Director Tom Kelley stepped down in January after 10 years on the job. Before taking over public works after director Mike Rudman retired in 2005, Kelley spent 24 years in Allegheny County government, working as a budget analyst, manager of capital budget research and evaluation, productivity administrator, deputy director of administrative services and deputy director of administration and operations for the county public works department.

How has the job changed since you started here?

Technology. Just in the time I’ve been here, there have been so many new programs, more efficient ways of keeping track of resources and assets. The GIS (geographic information system) allows us to track management of sewer maintenance, programs to evaluate which streets need repair. The computer programs really take the guesswork out of things.

What are some the things you’re proudest of accomplishing?

A lot of good things have happened over the past 10 years. Major reconstruction at the North and South garages. We now have a self-supporting revenue base to repair and maintain our sanitary and storm sewers. Reducing our carbon footprint with LED traffic lights, which use 70 percent less energy, a dramatic increase in recycling.

What advice do you have for your successor?

Listen thoroughly before you act. You have a great staff—don’t be afraid to ask them for advice. And never get too comfortable. Your whole world could change in the next five minutes.

Photo by Sally Bucey