With the retirement of Water Czar Will Wilde the City of San Angelo had the opportunity to do something grand, given the Water Department is a major public face of the organization. City leaders sent a clear message. Qualifications didn't matter. Internal candidates, as in plural, weren't given the opportunity to apply. "Go along, get along" seemed to be the sole criteria.
In the midst of this less than inspiring period, City Engineer Clinton Bailey interviewed and accepted the job of Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Fredericksburg. Bailey had the ethics, managerial skills and temperament to erase the water department stain. As a professional engineer Bailey seemed a lone voice in City Hall for long range infrastructure planning and street preventive maintenance.
Bailey spearheaded the City's Stormwater Management Plan, an unfunded federal mandate that involved education, street sweeping and cleaning drainage ways. Bailey worked with the Upper Colorado River Authority to install ten stormwater quality monitoring stations, an investment of $1 million. San Angelo is the only city its size to undertake such an effort, which Stormwater Magazine covered.
Bailey recalls. “A major difference between our program, as a Phase II city, and other ones around the state is that we are actively sampling and analyzing stormwater runoff in tributaries to our rivers throughout San Angelo. We’re doing that to establish background data for three main purposes. First, we want to identify what the real problems are. Then, we plan to build a model so we can build BMPs, detention ponds, gabion structures, things like that to prevent this pollution. Third, this will guide us to reduce the overall effort and dollars it takes to manage the entire system.”
San Angelo's Water Department could use a leader with such priorities.
The project Bailey considers his greatest achievement is Avenue P drainage remediation. Bailey went to a public meeting on Avenue P flooding with City Manager Harold Dominguez and Councilman Johnny Silvas. Citizens challenged them with a long history of failed promises, including ones from Will Wilde fifteen years prior. During the fifteen year period of inaction twenty homes flooded.
Bailey's tenacity on this issue began in 1996 when he wrote the grant application for hazard mitigation, resulting in a master drainage plan for the city. In 2000 the city reduced 57 identified problem drainage areas to 25 using eight criteria. After the public meeting, Bailey fought for funding. He and his team then designed the Avenue P remediation project, which broke ground in 2013.
Bailey will miss his hometown and his team of professional engineers. He leaves knowing he accomplished many worthwhile things for area citizens.
The City issued a press release on a going away reception for Bailey. They did so on May 1 (for immediate release)
The City of San Angelo will host a farewell reception for City Engineer Clinton Clinton Bailey from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, in the lobby of City Hall, 72 W. College Ave.
The Standard Times covered the reception and kept the content in front of their new paywall. The public is invited to comment here.
Clinton Bailey proved his worth repeatedly.
“San Angelo will always be in my heart,” Bailey said. “Y’all take care of things while I’m gone.”It's a shame another Texas town gave him the opportunity to interview and rise to the top.
"Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering." - Theodore Roosevelt
We'll have one less industrious leader on the job. Godspeed.
Update 7-27-13: City Council approved the Avenue P project in their July 16 meeting. Bailey's name arose several times.
Update 1-1-14: In 2014 the city will request quotes for a comprehensive survey of all San Angelo streets, proposed by former city engineer Clinton Bailey before he left the city. Oddly, Bailey's replacement is a former TEXDOT engineer. Also oddly, this could open the door for Blake Wilde's Wilde Engineering. Blake primarily worked streets/bridges before being fired for poor performance.