Palestine names deputy directors for public works


The city of Palestine has named Felipe Garcia, Michael Hornes and Rob Thames as deputy directors in the Public Works department.

“I am excited to have these guys help lead our department,” Public Works Director Tim Perry said. “These three deputy directors represent a wealth of experience for the city of Palestine.”

All three were selected after a rigorous promotion exam. A group of three judges with expertise in public works but are not affiliated with the city of Palestine judged the candidates on case studies and a five-year master plan. Following the presentations, all the candidates sat for another interview with Perry, Human Resources Director Susie Streb and Interim City Manager Mike Alexander. Again, the candidates faced a case study. The combination of the presentation scores plus the interview process led to the selection of the deputy directors.

In July, the Palestine City Council approved a reorganization of the Public Works Department, merging utilities and facility maintenance with Public Works. Under the new structure, Perry will have three deputy directors. Those deputies will then manage areas of expertise in Public Works: Utilities, Streets and Facility Maintenance. Garcia has 30 years of experience in water and wastewater systems and will be the Deputy Director of Utilities. He will oversee the Water Treatment Plant, Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Water Distribution team. Garcia serves as the supervisor of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and has experience with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Union Pacific railroad.

Since 2013, Hornes has worked for the city of Palestine in the engineering department. Hornes will be the Deputy Director for Facility Maintenance and will oversee engineering, facility maintenance, warehouse, information technology and the Civic Center. Hornes holds a Masters in Public Administration degree from Texas Tech, and has worked for the city of Lubbock and the New York City Parks Department.

Thames currently works in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and will oversee Streets as the Deputy Director. He will coordinate street construction and maintenance, waste disposal and vehicle maintenance. Thames has served the public for over 35 years in Commerce City, Colorado; Missoula, Montana and Palestine. In 1998, Thames received the Gold Medal Award from the National Parks and Recreation Association. All three deputies begin their full duties on Monday, Sept. 26.

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