At 7:30 a.m., when most of people are just waking up, Public Works director Jim Bay is in his office answering e-mails, working on presentations and going after grants because even after 20 years spent working for the city of Sequim, Bay still loves his job.
Im serious about the work that I do and Im serious about taking good care of the city, Bay said.
Bay will be retiring from the Public Works department this week. He informed the city of his plans six months ago, but for the past month, Bay said, its been an emotional roller coaster.
I want to stay, I want to go. I want to help and I dont want to help, Bay said, adding hes retiring to spend more time with his family: his wife, four sons and 11 grandchildren, 10 of whom are boys.
Ive got a wonderful wife that puts up with me coming to work at 5:30, 6 oclock in the morning and staying late, Bay said. She even rides alongside him when he goes out on weekends to check on public works projects.
Nows going to be my time to spend with her and the wonderful honey-dos shes got laid out for me, Bay joked.
Bay was born in Ohio, but in 1947 the family moved to the North Olympic Peninsula, a place Bay said no matter where he goes he keeps coming back to. After years of working in construction in California, Washington and Alaska, Bay co-owned a sawmill in Port Angeles, but the 14-hour workdays, seven days a week were too much. He sold his share of the business and went to work with the city improving streets. Within six months, he was named the Public Works Departments superintendent and in 1994 he was named the departments director. Today Bays an established figure, not just in Sequim, but at the county and state levels as well. Hes known for his contacts lists, which are essential when hes searching for grants and other funding options.
Thats something I just built up. I felt that it was just imperative. If youre going to ask someone for money, you need to talk to them and look right in their eyes and face, so they can see who you really are, Bay said.
Over the past 20 years, Bay has watched the city of Sequim go through a huge expansion and hes made sure that Public Works has taken a proactive role in keeping up with the citys growth, from expanding on Sequims downtown to adding landscaping and open space throughout the city.
It was a lot of fun to be a part of making all that happen. Im excited where were at, Bay said.
His most satisfying accomplishments, however, have to be establishing the citys state-of-the-art water facility and water reuse program. Bay doesnt exactly look like hed be an environmental type and he admits he wasnt always.
You have to remember, before I got here I was cutting down trees! We tore the countryside up and we were very good at it, Bay said. But when I started working here, I realized I wanted to do something so that I could leave it for my kids better than what somebody left it for me.
Bay says hell remain involved with the city but more or less as an audience member, picking and choosing where to voice his opinion.
Although his last day is April 25, Bay is working on a reconstruction of the Public Works Department itself, creating managerial positions for different aspects of the department water, sewer, parks, streets.
I can see when we start hitting populations of 10,000, 12,000, youre going to have to have somebody in charge of the water department, somebody in charge of the sewer department. I think the Public Works director will still be at the top and everything will be funneled up to him, but he wont be making all the decisions, Bay said.
The city has yet to hire someone to succeed Bay, but has contracted with a consultant to oversee the employment search.
This is a good-hearted man and its a real loss for this city, Councilman Walt Schubert said of Bay.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
For a complete company directory with contact information please click HERE.