Keeping up with the Joneses may have seemed hard, but not as difficult as keeping up with Mr. Jones, himself.
Jack Jones, Orem city's director of public works for nearly 17 years, is retiring, but his reputation for good works will follow him.New Public Works Director Ott Dameron said, "Stepping into Jack's position is an awesome responsibility. I don't feel I can ever replace him because he is an institution in this city."
Jones is going out with a bang, too. In September he was named the 1989-90 Outstanding Appointed Municipal Official in the state of Utah.
Daryl Berlin, who has worked with Jones for the past 10 years as Orem's city manager, said, "I think his greatest accomplishments lie in the growth of the physical infrastructure of the city."
And Jones has seen growth.
Jones has aided in the construction of seven new parks and initiated a road repaving project that will continuously recover roads in Orem for years to come.
"I also helped persuade the Central Utah Water Conservancy District to construct a water-treatment plant," Jones said. About 60 percent of Orem's water now comes from that plant.
He was also instrumental in the expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, which is expected to handle Orem's growth through the year 2010.
One area Jones said he is particularly proud of is Orem's solid-waste-disposal program.
"Orem has always had a good reputation for providing excellent service in solid-waste collection," he said. The new automated collection system makes the work easier.
And that was one thing that Jones always wanted to do: help his employees be happier.
"I've never had a day that I didn't want to come to work," he said. "The people in public works are the greatest asset to the department, and I have enjoyed working with them."
Berlin said maybe Jones couldn't have worked without people, but they couldn't have functioned without him, either.
"When we lose Jack, we lose a fountain of knowledge," Berlin said. He always knew how to handle a situation.Jones said one of the most difficult situations to handle was ironing out the wrinkles between contractors and developers.
And Dameron said he is aware of this and wants to follow in Jones' footsteps and keep working on it.
"I want to work very closely with developers to smooth out the process," Dameron said. "It will be a challenge, but I want to find some solutions."
Jones said he loves Orem. "It's my city and I wouldn't move for anything."
He is not sure what he will do after he retires, but for a man who served on the Orem City Council for four years before becoming public works director, served on the Metropolitan and Utah County Water Advisory boards, Orem's Beautification and Planning commissions and the Utah Valley Area Transportation System Committee, finding something to do should not be hard.
An open house honoring Jack Jones, retiring public works director, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the multipurpose room of Orem's City Center. The public is invited.