Public Works Director Retiring After More than 40 Years of Service
John Hays will retire from the Village of Clarendon Hills on Sept. 7.
The following is a release from the Village of Clarendon Hills:
Clarendon Hills public works director John Hays will retire on Sept. 7 after 41 years with the village. During his tenure, John has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and sustainability of the infrastructure of Clarendon Hills.
Hays began working for the village in 1971 as a member of the Clarendon Hills Fire Department. He was trained a state certified Fire Fighter II and became the village’s first registered EMT. From 1973 to 1976, Hays was also employed seasonally at the public works department, where he accepted a full time job in December 1976. He was appointed as public works supervisor in 1980 and promoted to director in 1988.
Hays has contributed significantly to the Village of Clarendon Hills by overseeing substantial improvements in the village’s forestry, roadways, water utility, storm water utility, sidewalks, public buildings and more.
Under his watch, the village was named a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Day Society, which the village has received for 21 consecutive years. Hays managed the village’s efforts against the invasive Dutch Elm Disease and, more recently, Emerald Ash Borer. Hays assisted in the development of the first comprehensive tree inventory in 2007, which identifies the species and condition of the village’s more than 5,000 public trees.
From 2000 to 2007, Hays worked with the State of Illinois for the development and reconstruction of the Chicago Avenue road improvements. The construction was valued in excess of $5 million, including $400,000 in new water mains at no cost to the village. He assisted in the development of the village’s new road standard, which incorporates concrete shoulder in order to extend the life of the pavement. Hays’s efforts also developed the first comprehensive sidewalk removal and replacement program, which worked to establish the sidewalk network the village enjoys today.
Since 1976, Hays has been involved in the replacement of 12 miles of water main out of the total 29 miles in the Village. He was also responsible for updates to the village’s utility that allowed it to accept Lake Michigan water through the DuPage Water Commission instead of well water.
Hays has also overseen significant technology and tracking upgrades to the village’s infrastructure. He worked to develop an inventory, including location and condition rating, for the village’s water and streets to help better plan ongoing improvements. Hays worked to install an automated water utility system, SCADA, on the village’s water utility. This has helped public works to better monitor the flow and condition of the village’s water mains and to identify more quickly the occurrence of water main breaks. He developed and implemented the first automatic water meter reading system in 1991, with upgrades in 2000.
Through all of this, Hays has ensured the best long-term interest of the village remains the focus. He has kept public works staffing levels steady since 1982, despite continued upgrades. He continued to evaluate services and materials to ensure the village was receiving the best value. For example, Hays brought water main break repairs back in house because it was more cost effective than contracting out these emergency repairs. And he was always here to assist and direct in emergencies, whether severe weather events or the 1999 Illinois Bell Telephone crisis that crippled communications throughout the area.
Hays has made innumerable contributions beyond what is listed here. His work has impacted the lives of many residents and his daily presence will be missed.
“Few people have had as much of an impact in making Clarendon Hills what it is today as John,” Village President Tom Karaba said. “John has literally helped to rebuild our community over the last 41 years. We will be forever grateful for his devotion to our village and for his countless contributions, whether it was plowing snow or making sure we had good water to drink. I have known and worked with John for more than 25 years and I will miss him and his friendship. I wish him much happiness in his retirement and hope that he is finally able to find the time that he needs to perfect his golf game.”
The village appointed Michael Millette as the next Public Works Director. Millette started with the Village on Aug. 13.