Lewiston Public Works Director Dave Jones, left, watches employees attach a plow blade to a truck prior to a storm this year. (Sun Journal file photo)

LEWISTON — Dave Jones won’t be around for another full winter as Lewiston Public Works director, and he’s just fine with that. It means no more snowstorms, no more water main breaks or failing equipment.

Regardless, he said he’ll miss it.

To no surprise to his colleagues, the longtime director announced Wednesday that he will retire Jan. 9, 2019, after nearly 20 years with the city. He’ll be 66 when he retires.

“They’ve all heard me say it would probably be early next year,” he said Thursday. “It wasn’t a big surprise to anybody.”

The decision to announce his retirement early gives city officials six months to find a replacement.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said Thursday that, “as with other management positions, we will do a search for his successor and likely reach out to some folks with the appropriate backgrounds and urge them to apply.”

Barrett said Lewiston’s Public Works Department is unusual in Maine in that it includes water, sewer and recreation on top of traditional public works functions, meaning the job is specialized.

“While it will be a challenge to find someone with expertise in all of these areas, we also have other staff in the department who can bring a mix of knowledge and skills to bear as continuing members of the department’s overall management team,” he said. “With the amount of notice Dave has provided, this will allow us the time to do a full-court recruitment effort to identify his replacement.”

Prior to being hired in Lewiston in 1999, Jones served in the U.S. Navy for 23 years, doing similar work. He spent time at the Brunswick Naval Air Station as well as locations in Norfolk, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Azores islands, an autonomous region of Portugal.

In 2009, Jones was named the Maine Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s Public Works Leader of the Year.

Lewiston Public Works Director Dave Jones, second from left, talks about improvements made to Simard Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston during a walking tour with Sen. Susan Collins, middle, Lewiston City Manager Ed Barrett, far right, and Mayor Robert Macdonald, second from right in 2015. At left is Lincoln Jeffers, director of Economic & Community Development in Lewiston. (Sun Journal file photo)

Jones is also well-known and visible in the community, and has cultivated a social media presence during the winter months to inform residents about winter storms and plowing. His posts routinely show up on the Lewiston Rocks community Facebook page, where he often responds directly to citizen questions.

The information provided is usually on storm forecasts, snow accumulation and plowing routes.

“It’s a good communication tool,” he said, adding that it can often get information to the public “ahead of time” and can alleviate complaints his department receives.

Jones lives in Bowdoinham with his wife and son. Asked if he had any plans for post-retirement, he said he might travel and become a “snowbird, to get away from the cold snow a little bit.”

In a notice on social media Wednesday, Jones joked about how Barrett would react to the news.

“By the way, the City Administrator told me he wasn’t sure he would accept, but I am sure he will come around,” he said.

The announcement from Jones comes during a period of flux in Lewiston management positions, marked by notable retirements.

Thursday was also the last day for longtime Planning and Code Enforcement Director Gil Arsenault, who will be replaced by Deputy Director David Hediger.

Sue Charron, Lewiston’s director of Social Services will also be retiring later this year. Phil Nadeau retired as deputy city administrator last year, replaced by current Deputy City Administrator Denis D’Auteuil.

“As you probably know, Lewiston has had a relatively stable management staff for many years,” Barrett said Thursday. “Unfortunately, many of them are near or have reached retirement within the span of a two- or three-year period.”

Barrett, who has been Lewiston city administrator since 2010, following 20 years in Bangor, said, “At the moment, I have no specific plans to retire.”

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