A career property assessor who says his “forte has been supervision” has taken the Street Department’s helm for three months with the goal of keeping garbage out of the city’s streets and alleys.

Chuck Simons “has the management skills to get the job done,” said city operations director Tony Toran, who interviewed the Meadow View Drive resident. “We have discussed some changes that need to be made, he’s had some meetings with people and is evaluating some situations, how we’re operating.”

Simons’ first day was Monday. He’s known former street commissioner Randy Hampton for at least 25 years, and the two men recently chatted about the deficit-strapped department’s operations, which include picking up yard waste — and often extra garbage when it exceeds Southern Indiana Waste Systems’ quota.

City officials have projected more than $700,000 in Street Department deficit by the end of the year.

“[Hampton] said there were some problems,” Simons recalled during a telephone call Wednesday night. “I asked him if he could help me with the [employees], he said he would, so I said I’d apply” for the vacancy left by Joddie Johnson’s recent retirement. “It’s a good bunch of people, all we’ve got to do is get things going in the right direction.”

“I told [Mayor James Garner], ‘Give me three weeks to figure out what we need to do to not have this garbage lying around, then a couple of months to get rid of it,’” Simons said.

At a neighborhood forum Wednesday night, code enforcement officer Pam Badger told residents about Simons’ hiring and said cheerfully that “once he gets settled in, I’m going to pester him a little bit” about yard-waste pickup routes.

Simons will make $8,281 for his three-month stint, the same pay rate as Johnson’s. He had been teaching classes for county and township assessors’ associations, he said. Simons ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for township assessor this spring after years as a technical advisor for county assessments.

Simons, 58, and his wife of 37 years have two sons and a daughter. He is the quartermaster at the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization on Grant Line Road, having fought in Vietnam for the Army’s 173rd Airborne Division.

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