Don Fields will be retiring as the city manager of Bridge City on Feb. 29. The City Council led by Mayor Kirk Roccaforte is looking at current Public Works Director Jerry Jones as the leading candidate.

“We feel that it is appropriate for us to look at Jones first since he is in place and familiar with our plans for the city,” Roccaforte said.

The Council has been pleased with Jones’ performance as Public Works Director since hiring him seven years ago, the mayor said.

Jones has 37 years experience in city administration. He worked in Silsbee for 21 years and Port Arthur for nine years. While employed. he has also taken college courses and earned an associate degree.

“I probably have enough hours for two bachelor’s degrees, but I kept changing majors,” he said.

Jones thinks it is important to stay abreast of changes in his field. As a result of his belief in continuing education he has professional certifications in City Building Inspection, Zoning Administration, and Public Administration, along with others.

“I’ve started at the bottom and worked my way up from reading water meters to where I am now. It has been my luck to be in the right place at the right time and to also have the qualifications I needed.” he said.

“The advantage in looking at Jones for the job is that he has first hand knowledge of the many projects that the city has planned. An outsider would have to come and play catch-up,” Roccaforte said.

Roccaforte said if Jones were appointed as city manager it would be his job to find the replacement for the public works director. The city manager is directly over the public works director. The managers in the past have relied on input from various city directors and the council when filling the job.

Roccaforte and Jones are excited in the direction they see the city headed. There are some large projects planned like the expansion of Ferry Drive and a new water tower by City Hall. Jones said that there are several projects involving major drainage systems in the city. One of these is the drainage along Highway 87.

“The new water tower will have a capacity of over 200,000 gallons. It will be big.” Jones said.

“Ferry Drive is going to be a major improvement to traffic flow. The expanded roadway and the addition of the turn lane will greatly relieve congestion and we are also going to re-vamp the traffic lights at both ends of Ferry. That will also help flow,” Jones said.
Roccaforte said that “Rita was a hard blow to the city but some good came out of it. We got $3.8 million in grant money that will allow us to do a lot of things that we badly need to do.”

In addition to the public works projects there are several new projects in the private sector. “The LaQuinta motel project is starting back and also construction for the Walgreen’s is about to begin.

“It is an exciting time for Bridge City” Roccaforte said.