By ALICIA LEONARD
With the retirement of Larry Laird, assistant city manager and building director for the DeFuniak Springs city government, the restructuring of certain job titles and duties have been implemented to lay a foundation for future growth.
Whereas Laird had worn two hats in the previous job positions, Bill Holloway has assumed the position of assistant city manager and will also continue as the public works director. Some of the prior department duties that Holloway oversaw as city Public Works director, have been shifted, though still under his oversight, to a new Utilities Services Supervisor Mike Sasser. The only new face is the mix is the newly-titled Building Official Ed Joyner.
“We moved some of the duties that Bill had previously had over to Mike Sasser, so Bill could assume the duties of assistant city manager,” said Kim Kirby, DeFuniak Springs city manager, “This was to spread those duties more evenly among the departments.”
Kirby said this will enable the type of government that she believes citizens want. “The voters have spoken with Amendment One and want leaner government,” she said.
Holloway has worked with the city for the past three years and stays busy. “It was a challenge when I took the Public Work’s director position and I enjoyed every challenge it has presented,” he said. “I knew it would be another challenge with this new position, but I’m learning and every day is a new day and I am enjoying it thoroughly.”
Holloway’s new position allows for seamless continuation of services. “Bill knows the building codes and is able to sign off on purchase orders and much more, if I am not available,” said Kirby. Holloway agrees, “We have to give our citizens and customers the best level of service, no matter if someone is sick or has to be away from their job. In the utilities department, it is a 24-hour job and we all wear many different hats to make sure the level of service is always high.” Mentorship is also important, said Holloway, “That’s how we do in all our departments. One person mentors another in case of an absence, so service is seamless. We try to never miss a beat, if someone has to cover for someone else.”
The new building official position, now held by Joyner, oversees new plans, public and commercial, that are submitted for approval before building can commence, works with the planning department for new developments, works with the public with questions over land use and building permits. Joyner has experience in construction and has been involved in the construction industry for about 30 years. “My business was mainly based in central Florida and we moved here about five years ago. I was hired about a month ago. I’m still trying to get my feet on the ground and understand my new responsibilities, since the job structure has changed, but it’s coming together. I did this in another small municipality for about two years. It was almost the same job description. But it is a little different than running your own business, as I have in the past, but my past experience has allowed me to apply much of that knowledge to this job.”
“Ed brings a very similar municipal experience to his position and I thought that was a positive when we interviewed him for this position. He was a good fit for the future growth that we want to accomplish,” added Kirby, “and Bill has done a fantastic job for us the last three years. He came to us from CH2HILL OMI and it was just a natural fit with the Public Works department.”
Holloway said it’s all about the future. “We are working toward future growth and we want to be prepared when it comes and have the groundwork laid out for it,” he said. “All of our employees here are great. They work very hard and do a fantastic job and take pride in their city. The employees here are the city’s greatest asset.” Joyner agreed, “It is a wonderful group to work with and I am looking forward to being a part of the team and helping DeFuniak Springs continue to grow.”