By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
KYLE – Another sign of Kyle’s change was revealed Tuesday to the city council when Assistant City Manager James Earp announced that long-time public works director Jimmy Haverda is stepping aside as the department grows to 18 employees.
Haverda will run the city’s public works inspections for the last couple years of his career before he retires. For Haverda’s part, it’s a welcomed change.
“I’ve been doing the inspections, the water, the wastewater and the streets,” Haverda said. “Now, I’m just going to do the inspections.”
Haverda, 58, went to work for the city in 1991, back when the public works could he handled by a couple employees. When Boots Montague retired as public works director in 1999 after 37 years of service, Haverda became the public works director.
“Back then, there wasn’t a lot going on,” Haverda said. “We laid a lot of water lines and did some repairs. The last five years, it’s gotten worse and worse. It used to be all in this (downtown) area. Now, we go all the way out to Waterleaf and Windy Hill Road.”
Haverda’s ten years as public works director have seen the city grow six-fold in population, with corresponding increases in streets, water lines and wastewater facilities. Haverda said he could walk over every square inch of Kyle and know not only if water lines are underneath, but where those water lines lead.
“The only ones I don’t know about are a few lines under the ground downtown,” Haverda said. “There are some lines down there where no one knows where they go. No one knew where they went when I started here.”
Haverda graduated with the last Kyle High School class in 1968. For more than 20 years, he held jobs at an Austin lumberyard and with Hunter Industries. When a position opened with the Kyle public works department in 1991, Haverda wanted it because he still lived in Kyle.
For the last 18 years, Haverda has supervised the infrastructure in Kyle, which became a daunting task as growth has overtaken the city. But now that Haverda is a couple years from retirement, he said the task has been “very satisfying.”
Said Kyle Mayor Mike Gonzalez to Haverda during Tuesday’s city council meeting, “We need to get all that information in your head and put it into a data base.”
The city is looking to fill the public works director’s job, which, Earp said, “will become more of an office position.” The city also is filling other positions in the department, which will enable employees to specialize in water, wastewater and streets. Meanwhile, Haverda will remain not just as an inspector, but as a resource.
“We really need him and his institutional knowledge here through the transition,” Earp said.
Earp said Haverda’s position as public works inspector will relieve him of the burden of supervision.
“I think we can all give Jimmy a big hand for all the work he’s done with the millions of dollars that Kyle is putting forward for infrastructure,” Earp said. “There isn’t an employee better suited to protect our interests than Mr. Haverda.”
For Haverda, the change signals a transition to retirement in two years. For the city, it’s just one more instance of transition to more complex times – above the ground and underneath it.Email | Print