BY THEO KARANTSALIS
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Miami Springs Public Works director Robert Williams abruptly resigned last Monday from his $97,549-year-post.
Williams started with the city in 1988 and worked his way up to the top slot.
“Robert has done every position in that department,” said Nery Owens, a 53-year resident who applauded William’s tenure. “The city website shows that public works has always provided excellent service.”
Owens, like other residents in the small city that prides itself on its “Mayberry” image, is on a first-name basis with most city employees.
“There will always be a special place in my heart for this city,” said the 6-foot, 300- pound Williams, well known for speaking with a distinct, deep bass voice. “I made a lot of friends along the way.”
Williams helped the city earn its coveted “Tree City USA” designation back in 1994, and worked tirelessly though fierce storms including Hurricanes Andrew to keep Miami Springs’ 14,000 residents clean and safe.
Tree pruning, debris removal, street and street light repair, solid waste disposal, maintenance of right-of-ways and the upkeep of municipal buildings are all some of the daily tasks performed by this department. The Public Works Department also serves as a support system to every department within the city.
“His dedication to customer service will be missed,” said City Manager Ron Gorland, who added that the city will soon start searching for a replacement.
In the meantime, Arborist Tom Nash will serve as the city’s acting public works director.
“Another opportunity came up that was closer to home,” said Williams, the city’s only African American department head who oversaw a staff of about 50 people.
“It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.”
Williams added that city discussions about possibly outsourcing some functions of Public Works weighed on his decision. This would include tree trimming, trash pickups and landscaping functions of the current Public Works Department that could potentially save residents up to $1 million per year.
Williams has one final message for his old friends and residents: “Thank you for working with me as a team to keep Miami Springs beautiful.”
Robert Williams, the public works director for Miami Springs resigned last Monday. (THEO KARANTSALIS/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD)
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