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City announces new hires, changes in organization

The City of Bainbridge has announced a new organizational structure, as well as made two new key hires. The new structure, which became effective August 1, has the city’s six divisions consolidated into four — Public Safety, Public Services, Community and Economic Development and Administrative Services.

The change will make better use of the city’s resources by combining like services to create better efficiency and synergy, officials said.

“The goal of this reorganization is to help the city function as one team rather than as different divisions,” said City Manager Chris Hobby. “The idea behind the reorganization is to streamline management in such a way that everyone is working together in order to provide better services to public.”

The city’s last major organizational change happened back in 2004, when Hobby combined 14 different departments under six divisions.

Public Services

The Public Services Division will be made up of the Public Works and Utilities Departments, with Steve Winburn as the new Public Services Director. Winburn comes to the City of Bainbridge after working 15 years as a Project Manager for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“We are pleased Steve’s decided to join us,” Hobby said. “His knowledge of public infrastructure will serve the city well.”

Winburn will begin his new position Aug. 15. After the recent retirement of Tommy King and Ronnie Parrish, the Public Works and Utilities Departments were also in need of new managers. Al Kelley has been named Public Works Director, supervising the Street Department, Solid Waste Department and City Shop. Utilities Director Bo Ladner will oversee the Gas Department, Water Department and Sewer Department.

“If you think about the kind of work they are doing on a daily basis, Public Works and Utilities are supposed to function together,” Hobby said. “I think it will be good to have three day-to-day managers over those departments.”

Both Ladner and Kelley are veteran city employees. Kelley started with the city’s Leisure Services department in 1981, when he was in his early 20s, and has worked for the city ever since. Hobby moved Kelley from Leisure Services to overseeing the city’s shop and solid waste departments in March.

For Kelley, the new role has been a welcome challenge, which he said has given him a renewed energy for working. Hobby agreed, saying Kelley’s experience as a manager and his knowledge of city operations were big plusses.

“He’s got a good skil set managing people and budgets,” Hobby said Friday. “He’s always fostered good morale among his employees. I think [the new role] gives Al a chance to do something different within our organization while drawing upon his abilities and knowledge.”

Community and Economic Development Division

The Community Development and Leisure Services Divisions have also been combined to become the Community and Economic Development Division, directed by Amanda Glover. The division will consist of Planning and Zoning, Building Inspections, Code Enforcement, Main Street, and Communications. Jason Strickland will continue managing Leisure Services and managing Parks and Grounds, Tennis and Athletic Programs.

Lisa Taylor, Administrative Services Director, will continue to oversee Accounting, Technology, Municipal Court, Human Resources and Purchasing.

“Recreation is a part of our economic development effort, whether it’s the events we put on in Willis Park, the bass tournaments and tennis tournaments we host or our planned river walk — it all fits nicely within the same framework,” Hobby said.

Citizens should benefit from the re-organization by getting more responsive, coordinated services from city employees.

“I think the changes streamline the way we work together,” Hobby said. “It cuts out some of the communication gaps that have existed in the past and allow departments to collaborate more closely.”