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Retired director to form Woodstock public works budget

WOODSTOCK – Former public works Director John Isbell will assemble the department’s 2013-14 budget despite health problems that forced his early retirement.

Isbell announced last year he would end his 28-year tenure as head of public works after assembling the budget. But “medical issues” forced Isbell to retire in late November, City Manager Tim Clifton said.

The city has contracted with Isbell to complete the department budget, which consists of eight divisions. Jeff Van Landuyt, formerly assistant public works director, is interim director.

“It doesn’t mean that Jeff isn’t involved, because he reviews it all,” Clifton said. “But the detailed review of all those budget processes would have taken Jeff, who would have been new to it, away from all the operational duties and citizen response and things of that nature.”

Clifton said the arrangement won’t put a strain on the budget process. He said Isbell was able to get needed information from Van Landuyt and various superintendents without having to deal with other department issues. “So it’s going to be an even more thorough budget analysis,” Clifton said.

Public works includes the streets, parks, sewer and water maintenance, water treatment, wastewater treatment, fleet maintenance, engineering and administration divisions.

Isbell – who was hired by the city in 1984 – couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

Clifton is retiring and the city will wait until a new city manager is chosen to select a permanent public works director. The City Council is expected to make a decision on Clifton’s replacement Tuesday.

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