Gary Cinder, who has been Oak Ridge public works director for 24 years and interim city manager twice, is retiring September 4.
Cinder has been in public service for 33 years. He could go to work in the private sector, possibly as a consultant.
“It’s time to try something new, something different,” Cinder told Oak Ridge City Council members on Tuesday.
Cinder was the lead staff member on locating, designing, and building the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane. That building is used by the Oak Ridge Public Works Department, Oak Ridge Electric Department, and the school bus maintenance facility, among others.
Cinder has led a major effort to ensure that Oak Ridge complies with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order that requires the city to repair all sewer system overflows by September 28. That work is mostly complete, and the city is in good shape, Cinder said.
Other highlights of his time here, Cinder said, are water and sewer system improvements and the transition of infrastructure from the U.S. Department of Energy to the City of Oak Ridge.
“It’s been a good run here, and I leave with my held head high,” Cinder said.
Cinder said there wasn’t a particular trigger that led to his announced retirement. But he said it was time to reassess and re-evaluate when he turned 60.
After discussing the retirement decision with his wife, Cinder told Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson about three weeks ago.
Cinder’s retirement follows the retirement of Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd, who was also a Public Works Department employee. Roger Flynn is the acting city engineer.
Besides Oak Ridge, Cinder has also worked with public utilities in the Orlando, Florida, area.
Cinder served as interim city manager in 2003 and 2004 before Jim O’Connor was hired in March 2004. Cinder served as interim city manager again after O’Connor resigned in January 2010 to take a position in Winchester, Virginia, and before Watson was hired in August 2010.
Cinder supervises about 100 employees in the Oak Ridge Public Works Department and several budgets, or funds. Public Works is responsible for water, wastewater, streets, facilities, fleet, engineering, and storm water.
“It’s a good place to spend a career,” Cinder said.
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