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Public Works office moves to Washington Street

by Tia Lyons | September 13, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

People who are looking to purchase a building permit or are in need of city code enforcement services will have to find them somewhere other than City Hall.

The Department of Public Works has packed up and moved its administrative offices from City Hall to a new location at 512 N. Washington, which is next to the El Dorado Water Utilities' office.

The city finalized the $150,000 purchase of the property -- the former office of Larry Holder, CPA -- in July to expand the water utilities' office by adding a second drive-through/payment lane.

Last month, Robert Edmonds asked El Dorado City Council members for their thoughts on using the office building for an additional purpose: moving the DPW to a new home base.

Edmonds noted that the DPW and water utilities, which falls under the DPW's umbrella, often work hand in hand on city projects -- including infrastructure improvements on streets, water/wastewater lines, and an upcoming multi-million-dollar project to replace the city's two, aging wastewater treatment plants, both of which were built in the 1970s.

The council gave Edmonds its blessing on Aug. 11 and the move commenced almost immediately thereafter.

Over the past few weeks, furniture, file cabinets and other items have been emptied out of the DPW and City Code Enforcement office spaces on the first floor of City Hall and ferried to the North Washington Avenue building.

Save a couple of file cabinets and a few pieces of furniture, Edmonds said the DPW has cleared out of City Hall and has been up and running in its new home for more than a week.

He said he expects to remove the remaining items from City Hall and clean the empty office space this week.

When asked how he, DPW administrative assistant Debbie Stinson and code enforcement officers Kirby Craig and Santana Parlor are settling into their new digs, Edmonds said, "It's different. It's functional. It's operational and it's going to work out fine. We'll be fine there, I think."

The move frees up office space in City Hall.

Like Edmonds did in August, City Clerk Heather McVay has asked the council and Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer for feedback on moving from her office on the second floor into the space that was formerly occupied by Edmonds and Stinson.

Two other offices are also now vacant on the first floor.

Smith-Creer said other City Hall employees, some of whom share office space, have made similar requests to move into former DPW offices and she plans to meet with the employees to discuss the matter.

The city clerk's office was previously on the first floor in a shared space with the payroll/personnel clerk.

In 2015, McVay moved into the second-floor office after the city made changes to its personnel makeup, upon a recommendation from state legislative auditors.

Auditors advised the city to clearly delineate job roles and functions of city employees and public officials.

As a result, former deputy city clerk/administrative assistant's position was repurposed into the payroll/personnel clerk.

For years, the city clerk's office had handled payroll and personnel matters, such as health insurance payments and workers compensation claims.

The deputy city clerk had also previously handled requests for the city clerk, while the city clerk, an elected position, sometimes dealt with payroll/personnel issues.

After the changes were made, McVay relocated the city clerk's office to an empty space on the second floor, saying then that the office had more room to store and maintain city records, including original ordinance books, resolutions and minutes from city council, commission and board meetings.

Edmonds and Stinson's former office on the first floor would not only allow more room for an ever-growing reserve of city files and records, it would also provide extra office space to hire an assistant at some point in the future, McVay said.

Moving the city clerk's office back to the first floor would allow for easier access to the public, she added.

Other employees and offices that are housed on the first floor of City Hall include the payroll clerk, human resources director and city collector.

"Several city offices will be moving, including the city clerk, as soon as public works is all moved out and that space over there is cleaned," Smith-Creer said.

For more information, call the DPW at 870-863-4244.

Print Headline: Public Works office moves to Washington Street

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