Public Works Center SignThe City of Champaign seeks an experienced and innovative professional to serve as Public Works Director.  Champaign, Illinois, is a vibrant and diverse micro-urban community located in east Central Illinois.  With oversight over the City’s infrastructure, buildings, grounds, and vehicular equipment, along with specialized community services, such as tree care, recycling service, and parking management, the Public Works Director position is a great opportunity to transform how people live, work, and play in our community.

At the City of Champaign, we take our mission to provide responsive, caring service very seriously. We seek leaders for our organization who are not only highly accomplished in their fields, but also are deeply passionate in serving and being engaged with their community. We strive to have a leadership team and workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our City. Our executive hiring processes are designed to gather as much relevant information as possible to find a highly qualified candidate that meets the needs, expectations, and values of our community.

The City of Champaign has launched a national search for the position of Public Works Director.  Public input was an important part of the process and we held public meetings, accepted emails, and had a public survey to gather your valuable feedback. The information gathered was used to help formulate the recruitment profile.

The recruitment profile is used as the City’s advertisement for the job opportunity. It serves as a “roadmap” that guides the rest of the process as we seek candidates whose experience and qualifications best align with the needs of our City. The recruitment profile includes information about the community, job opportunity, the City organization, the department and its services, as well as responsibilities for the new Public Works Director, and knowledge, skills, abilities and leadership qualities for the successful candidate.

The City hired a professional recruitment firm to help advertise this job opening and attract qualified candidates. A request for proposals was used to select such the firm, in compliance with City purchasing policies, including the Champaign Diversity Advancement Program.

The City will issue media releases and post more specific information on this web page and on social media as it becomes available. Interested applicants and members of the public are encouraged to follow the City on social media to get updated information.

— Dorothy Ann David, City Manager


Cover of Public Works Director Recruitment Profile

Click here to read the profile

Are you seeking an amazing career opportunity where you can make a real difference in shaping the future of a growing community and positively impact the lives of others?  The City is now accepting applications from candidates interested in serving as Champaign’s next Public Works Director.

This position will remain open until filled, however, interested applicants are strongly encouraged to apply no later than Friday, November 5, 2021.

This City has engaged a recruitment firm to help with this nationwide search. For more information about the position, please contact Art Davis at or 816-868-7042.

The City of Champaign is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). Women, minorities and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Current Recruitment Status:

The City is currently accepting applications for the Public Works Director position. Desired attributes, required experience, and other minimum qualifications for the position can be found in the recruitment profile. For full consideration, applications must be received by November 5, 2021.

Note: All timelines are tentative, and are subject to change at any time, as the recruitment process proceeds. The timeline will be updated with specific dates as they become available.

July 28, 2021Public survey launches on City website
August 4 & 7Community meetings on the Public Works recruitment
August 20, 2021Public survey closed
September 2021Hired a professional recruitment firm. Started developing the recruitment profile.
October 8, 2021Advertising launches for Public Works Director recruitment
Early November 2021Job posting closes
November 2021Review of application materials and selection of candidates for interviews
Late November/Early DecemberCandidate interviews (details about public participation forthcoming)
Early to Mid-JanuaryAnticipated starting date for new Public Works Director



The City scheduled the following community meetings so the public could provide input on the Public Works Director recruitment. Both meeting dates have now passed.

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2021 – 6-8:00 pm – Champaign Public Library  (Robeson Rooms A & B) – 200 W Green St., Champaign
  • Saturday, August 7, 2021 – 10-noon – Douglass Branch Library – 504 E. Grove St., Champaign


A public survey was available for community members to provide their written suggestions on the priorities and characteristics they feel are needed for the next Public Works Director.


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The City of Champaign also welcomed feedback from groups who wanted to provide feedback regarding the development of the recruitment profile.  Organizations hosting discussions were asked to submit their notes and suggestions to the City Manager’s Office by August 20, 2021.


The Public Works Director manages and directs all activities and personnel of the Champaign Public Works Department including development and maintenance of City-owned infrastructure, facilities and property, and vehicular equipment. The Director manages the maintenance of City infrastructure systems including pavements, alleys, sidewalks, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and stormwater management infrastructure, traffic signals, and City-owned streetlights.  The Director is also responsible for implementation of the City’s Capital Improvement Program, design and construction of capital projects, and engineering review of private construction activities within the City.  The Public Works Department also provides specialized public services such as snow and ice control, parking system operation and maintenance, environmental quality control and recycling services, right-of-way vegetation maintenance, and utility coordination and location services.  The Director has overall responsibility for the Department’s administrative functions such as fiscal administration, grants and contract management, and procurement, as well as media relations and community engagement.

The Director performs administrative and professional work in planning, directing, supervising, and coordinating all activities of the Public Works Department, exercising leadership over all public works functions of the City. The employee in this position directs a variety of specialized activities through the direction of the Administrative Services, Engineering and Operations divisions. The work requires considerable discretion within the framework of established Federal, State and local laws, ordinances and policies. This position reports directly to the City Manager and works with the City Manager to implement City ordinances, policies and services at the policy direction of the City Council. The Director consults with the City Manager with respect to general policies, programs, plans and objectives for the Department. The Director is expected to demonstrate initiative and good judgement, and generally function independently of direct supervision with respect to operational procedures and management practices. Work also includes ensuring the proper training, assignment and discipline of all department employees. The Public Works Director has technical independence in administering the activities of the department and is responsible for internal policy and control.

  • Leads, plans, directs, and supervises all work of the Public Works Department; schedules and assigns work; establishes priorities; ensures that personnel are assigned to shifts or working units to provide optimal effectiveness in delivering department services and responding to emergencies and emerging community issues;
  • Formulates and enforces department rules, regulations, policies and procedures in compliance with Federal, State and local laws; develops department policies and employee performance standards in accordance with City Council expectations as directed by the City Manager;
  • Consults with and acts as a technical advisor to the City Manager, City Council, and other City department heads on matters related to public works and engineering programs, projects, and services; ensures that the City Manager and City Council members are informed of all departmental concerns, problems, and related issues as appropriate;
  • Manages the development and implementation of departmental goals, objectives, and priorities for each assigned service area; develops comprehensive short- and long-range plans to ensure effective delivery of quality public services, and promotion of community safety and quality of life;
  • Oversees engineering functions; reviews and approve technical plans, drawings, papers, reports and specifications; interprets technical materials; direct construction, maintenance, and project management activities;
  • Takes proactive measures to recruit, hire and retain a highly qualified and inclusive workforce that reflects the diversity of the City;
  • Trains, develops, and evaluates assigned personnel; ensures the training of staff in correct work methods, procedures, policies and laws; provides mentoring and career development opportunities; takes measures to promote the health, safety and well-being of department employees;
  • Promotes a positive work environment characterized by open communications, transparency, collaboration, and cooperative labor-management relations; correctly and effectively administers collective bargaining agreements;
  • Ensures City and departmental policies, rules, regulations, work methods and procedures are followed; works with employees to correct deficiencies; implements discipline and termination procedures as necessary;
  • Investigates employee grievances and alleged violations of City and departmental policies by department employees; establishes and administers a process to respond to concerns and complaints by members of the public and takes appropriate actions;
  • Maintains ultimate authority and accountability for all fiscal matters and financial operations of the Public Works Department; oversees preparation of the departmental budget and Capital Improvements Plan for City Manager and City Council consideration and approval; operates the department within approved budget authority and ensures expenditures are made in compliance with City purchasing policies and ordinances, including the Equal Opportunity in Purchasing Ordinance;
  • Communicates and cooperates with other municipal, State, and Federal agencies in the construction of public infrastructure and delivery of public services; coordinates departmental activities with other agencies and City departments as needed to achieve effective operations; provides assistance to neighboring governments per mutual aid agreements;
  • Coordinates with Fire, Police, and EMS providers and other departments or agencies for effective emergency response to significant events such as snow and ice storms, other weather-related events, hazardous materials emergencies, etc.; participates in community-wide emergency/disaster preparedness plans and activities as coordinated by the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency;
  • Serves as a highly visible leader who is actively engaged with the community; maintains a current and accurate understanding of community issues and concerns, seeks community input into department services; develops plans and procedures for effective response to community needs;
  • Maintains high standards for customer-service within the department; ensures timely and respectful responses to requests from members of the public for information and services;
  • Serves as the face of the Department, positively representing the City in all interactions with governmental and University officials, outside agencies, neighborhood groups, members of the public and City employees; develops and maintains effective rapport with officials, community leaders and the general public;
  • Attends and makes presentations at City Council meetings and other public meetings to represent the department; participates on a variety of boards, commissions, and committees; prepares and presents related staff reports and communications;
  • Performs a variety of public relations and engagement duties; answers questions, addresses concerns, and provides information to the public, civic organizations, neighborhood groups, businesses, and the media; partners with community groups and outside agencies to promote community safety and quality of life;
  • Communicates clearly, professionally and effectively with elected officials, employees, external agencies and members of the public verbally and in writing; prepares and reviews reports, departmental correspondence and other documents for accuracy, clarity and tone;
  • Participates in professional associations and groups; stays abreast of new trends, technologies and innovations in the fields of public works, infrastructure design, construction and maintenance, and public safety.

  • Comprehensive knowledge of best practices and current developments and issues in public works management and public administration.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of laws and proper procedures, methods, and techniques in infrastructure construction and maintenance, right-of-way management, environmental services and general public works service delivery.
  • Thorough knowledge of the principles and theory in the fields of civil and environmental engineering.
  • Thorough knowledge of the methods and practices of a public works operations and infrastructure construction and maintenance.
  • Ability to correctly interpret and apply Federal, State and local policies, procedures, laws and regulations; ability to make decisions in accordance with applicable laws and policies; skill in exercising good judgment.
  • Ability to plan, coordinate and execute the performance of work consistent with the mission of the organization in a responsive, timely and cost-effective manner.
  • Demonstrated experience in successful project management, including long-range planning.
  • Skill in responding courteously and informatively to requests from members of the public for service or information.
  • Ability to establish and maintain positive working relationships with government officials, businesses, neighborhood and community groups, and the general public.
  • Experience leading engagement with a diverse community and being responsive to the needs of a diverse customer clientele.
  • Knowledge of principles of personnel management, and administration in a union environment; ability to correctly interpret and apply provisions of collective bargaining agreements.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in recruiting, hiring, supervising, training, evaluating and disciplining employees.
  • Ability to build a collaborative, harmonious and respectful work environment for department employees.
  • Ability to provide leadership to plan, schedule, coordinate and supervise the work of a large organization, including multiple subordinate supervisors.
  • Ability to provide high-level oversight to multiple work activities and projects simultaneously.
  • Good knowledge of safety precautions necessary in public works labor operations and automotive repair work.
  • Demonstrated proficiency overseeing budget, fiscal and contract administration.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, including communications to elected officials, employees and the public.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in civil or environmental engineering, construction management, urban planning, public administration, or closely related field.
  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in public works functions in a comparably sized municipal, state, or federal organization, at least three of which must be in a managerial or supervisory capacity.
  • Experience working in multi-racial, multi-cultural urban communities.
  • An equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job.

  • Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in civil or environmental engineering, construction management, urban planning, public administration, or closely related field or a combination of equivalent education, training, and experience.
  • Completion of public works leadership training, such as the Illinois Public Service Institute, APWA Public Works Institute, or similar program.
  • Certification or certificate of completed training in racial or multicultural studies; diversity, equity, and inclusion or similar area of study.
  • Two or more years leading public works functions in a comparably sized municipal, state, or federal organization at the level of department head or assistant/deputy department head.
  • Extensive public service work experience in multi-racial, multi-cultural urban communities.
  • Leadership or management experience directing multiple divisions in a union environment.
  • Demonstrated successful experience working in a diverse organization with diverse customers.
  • Any equivalent combination of education and experience that demonstrates the preferred knowledge, skills and abilities for the position will be considered.

  • Registration as a Professional Engineer by the State of Illinois or ability to attain registration within six months of appointment.
  • Possession of a valid state-issued driver’s license and a safe driving record as determined by the City’s Risk Manager. A driving record check of the past five (5) years will be reviewed and evaluated based on the following factors, the length of time since the violation, the number of violations that appear on the driving record, and the nature and severity of the violation and its relationship to the safety and security of others.
  • Residency within the City of Champaign’s corporate limits is required within six (6) months of appointment.
  • Ability to pass a post-offer criminal history record check and drug screening.

Download a copy of the job description


On July 28, 2021, the City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from professional recruitment firms to provide recruitment and advertising services to identify qualified candidates for the positions of Public Works Director and Chief of Police.  Proposals were due to the City on August 11, 2021. On September 7, 2021, the City Council voted on Council Bill 2021-124 regarding the approval of a contract for professional recruitment services with Baker Tilly US, LLP to handle both recruitments at a cost of $46,350.