by nathan oster
The Town of Greybull began the new year without its longest-tenured public works employee.
Dalen Davis, the public works foreman, left his post on Friday, Dec. 28, citing personal reasons. He’d been with the town for 21 years.
The Greybull Town Council had planned to meet Wednesday, Jan. 2 for the swearing in of Mayor Myles Foley and Councilors Kaitlyn Johnson and Marvin Hunt on the first official day of their new terms, so the agenda for that meeting was simply expanded to include a discussion about the public works foreman’s job description and an executive session to discuss personnel.
Paul Thur, the town’s administrator/finance director, said the position was opened to internal candidates, who had until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28 to submit letters of interest.
During its Wednesday night meeting, the council was expected to consider filling the vacancy or, if there are multiple candidates, proceeding with interviews.
Davis said in an interview Thursday that he’d simply decided “it is time to do something different,” adding that he has another job lined up and is starting it this week. He wouldn’t say where, just that “people will eventually find out. I’m still going to be around.”
Originally from Glenrock, Davis moved to Greybull in 1975 and spent “about 10 years” working for Wyoming Gas, then another 10 years or so working for Wyo-Ben before going to work for the town in April of 1997.
Davis said one of the things he’s proudest of is starting at the bottom of the public works department and working his way to the top, into the foreman’s post.
“I’ve done everything there is to do for the town,” he said. “I tell the crew all the time, I’m never going to give you anything to do that I haven’t personally done myself.”
In his time on the town crew, Davis worked under a number of public works directors, including Neil Beisler, Bob Graham (who served in an interim capacity), Ross Jorgensen, Ron Vanderpool and Randy Rumpler.
The things he enjoyed the most were running the backhoe and other equipment and installing taps and water lines — “all things where you could see what you accomplished at the end of the day.”
As one might expect, working with sewer lines topped the tasks at the other end of the spectrum that he won’t miss as he moves onto his next challenge.
Davis said he is proud of the town’s infrastructure, saying Greybull’s “is probably one of the better ones around.” Over the last 35 to 40 years, 99 percent of the water lines have been redone.
In terms of sewer infrastructure, Davis said the town is making progress bringing its sewer infrastructure up to today’s standards and that it has started doing a better job of maintaining its streets, some of which were long overdue for attention.
“I think the town will continue to grow and is headed in the right direction,” he said.
With growth, however, has come challenges, he said, adding that the next public works foreman is going to have to do a lot of project juggling.
“The projects that have been done have added to the public works crew, there’s no doubt about that,” he said, citing the walk path, the development of the ball fields and the expansion of water and sewer infrastructure for the business park and (coming soon) residential subdivision east of town among the examples. “Public works used to be kind of a small thing, but it certainly isn’t anymore.”
Davis was asked if he felt the public works department has been understaffed. He said “it’s a hard line to balance” because there are times of the year when more people are needed — and other times when they aren’t.
Greybull’s crew has had one person tasked with maintaining the parks and another with sanitation. The rest are asked to be jacks of all trades, said Davis.
“It’s been a pleasure working for the town and I’ve enjoyed working with the public,” he said. “It’s just time to do something different.”