Public works chief talks about the road ahead

Q&A with Rory Hale

Jodi Horner
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 11/16/17

Rory Hale began working as the Elbert County public works director in August. He brought with him 25 years of experience in municipal and county governments, including time in Kansas as an …

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Public works chief talks about the road ahead

Q&A with Rory Hale

Posted

Rory Hale began working as the Elbert County public works director in August.

He brought with him 25 years of experience in municipal and county governments, including time in Kansas as an environmental sanitarian and as a director in public works for several cities and towns, most recently for Silt, Colorado.

Hale is a Denver native. He and his wife live in Parker and have four children and five grandchildren. When he has free time, he likes to spend it with his family.

He recently agreed to a Q&A session with the Elbert County News.

How does your role as a county public works director differ from that of a city or town’s public works director, and how are they similar?

Staffing and the day-to-day operations are very similar, but the level of responsibility in a county government is on a much larger scale.

There are other types of infrastructure that one is responsible for when working for a municipality: water, wastewater, irrigation and parks maintenance, which we typically aren’t responsible for at the county level. The most common denominator is the road system.

Why did you choose to go into public works?

Honestly, it chose me. I began my career working in the environmental field, but then found that the public works field was a better fit.

What do you see as the biggest challenges Elbert County is facing today on which you can help impact?

The growth Elbert County is experiencing and road maintenance. We need to make sure we have good responsible development and developers doing business in Elbert County and that development pays for itself without burdening our taxpayers. Growth is coming, and we need to make sure the county is guiding the development process down the correct path and ensure that any impact to our citizens is a positive one.

Roads — as a companion to the West Elbert County Transportation Master Plan, we recently completed the Elbert County Roadway Pavement Rehabilitation Cost Analysis, which gives us the ability to begin developing and implementing a five-year Capital Improvement Plan, (CIP), which will address all the paved roads in the county. The county has never had a CIP, and without this “roadmap” it makes it difficult, at best, to plan or budget for road improvements and maintenance.

In 2018, we will begin working on a countywide gravel road assessment and rehabilitation plan. When completed, all three of these documents will be combined as one document that covers the entire county. We’ll then have the ability plan, budget, and explore alternative ways of funding these improvement projects.

Once the CIP has been completed, we will present it to the (board of county commissioners) for adoption, along with the annual Road & Bridge budget.

The Road & Bridge staff is already working on alternative materials and methods of maintaining our county gravel roads. Over the next year, our citizens should see a marked improvement over the types of materials used and the quality of the road maintenance. We’ve restructured the R&B department, put the right people in the right positions and provided the leadership they need to do their jobs efficiently and correctly.

As far as my impact, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time. All the pieces were here when I took this position. We have a great staff. People that care about what they do and care for the citizens of this county. I’m just blessed to be in a position where I can use my experience to bring the right pieces together and lead them in the right direction. It really is all about teamwork! I’m just privileged to be the quarterback.

What aspect(s) of this role do you enjoy the most?

I really do enjoy all the people I work with, and I enjoy being in a position where I can be a part of positive change. I enjoy the fact that I am in a position where I can use my experience, lead good people, and give them the tools and support they need to do the jobs that our taxpayers expect of us.

I also enjoy being in a position where I’m able provide our commissioners with the information they need so they’re able to make well-informed decisions.

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