The city of Grovetown will soon have to say goodbye to two of its public works directors.
Wayne Newman, a lifelong Grovetown resident, announced Tuesday that he will retire in October after 22 years as the city's director of Public Works.
"I don't have any big plans," Newman said of his impending retirement. "I'd like to travel a little bit, fish a little bit."
Since he took over in 1984, Newman said the job responsibilities have expanded dramatically, especially in the past decade as the city's population boomed.
When the city's Water and Sewer Department split from the Public Works Department in June 2004, Todd Baldwin took over as the Water and Sewer director. Newman stayed as Public Works director, which encompasses streets, sanitation including the city landfill, maintenance including the mechanics shop, parks and recreation.
Baldwin recently announced to city officials that he has accepted a preliminary job offer from ESG Operations, a utility management and engineering firm with 10 offices in Georgia, Florida and Mississippi.
"They are like a private entity that goes in and subcontracts to run the water, sewer, all the public works aspects of a city," Baldwin said, adding that the offer includes a significant pay increase and a move to Port Wentworth, Ga., near Savannah.
Baldwin said the job of project manager, for which he expects a final job proposal from the company soon, entails him using his experience working in water, sewer and public works for Columbia County, the city of Thomson, Harlem and Grovetown. As soon as he accepts the final proposal, Baldwin said he'll turn in his two-week notice.
"I'll be doing exactly the same thing I'm doing now," Baldwin said, adding the project manager position would put him overseeing public works systems in one or two cities or counties. There also is the possibility of upward mobility to regional manager, which would put Baldwin in charge of three to five counties.
Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau said the city will miss the men.
"First of all, it is going to be hard to replace them," Trudeau said, adding that Newman will move over temporarily to direct the Water and Sewer Department when Baldwin leaves until a replacement is hired. "...They are exceptional employees."
Trudeau said he hopes to hire from within the city ranks to fill the positions to be vacated by Baldwin and Newman.
Newman, a lifelong Grovetown resident, has city service in his blood. His father, Lindsey Newman, was the mayor of Grovetown for nine years. Newman's brother, Curtis, served five years on the city council and another of Newman's brothers, Bobby, was the Planning and Zoning administrator for 10 years.
Both Newman and Baldwin agree on what they'll miss most about leaving their current positions.
"I'll miss the people," Newman said. "It's just time to do something different...I'm sure I'll miss it."
Baldwin, a lifelong Harlem resident, is used to meeting people he knows from growing up in Harlem to those he's met on the street doing his job. He said going from such a familiar place to a new city will take some adjustment.
"Other than my wife (Elizabeth), my daddy is my best friend..." Baldwin said, adding that he has volunteered on Harlem's fire department alongside his father, Mike Baldwin, for nearly five years. Baldwin's father is slated to retire this September. "Being right there with him, that's been great."
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