By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy City Council agreed to combine two department head positions Monday, unanimously approving the hire of Jeff Conte as director of utilities and engineering.
Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore announced the nomination of Conte, who has served as the water/wastewater department head at Quincy engineering firm Klingner and Associates since 2000, last week.
Conte's one-year contract starts Oct. 7. He will replace Director of Utilities David Kent, who announced in July that he would retire Dec. 20 after 40 years with the city. Conte officially will serve as the assistant director of utilities until Dec. 21. The council amended the nomination, since the city can't have two directors of utilities at once.
Conte, 46, said he was excited to start his new role.
"I'm in a good position," he said. "I can hit the ground running, because I already understand how our water and sewers work together."
Conte said he will train with Kent when he starts.
Starting salary for the combined position will be $94,000. Kent and former City Engineer Jeff Steinkamp, who was not retained by the Moore administration, each had a base salary of around $89,000. Steinkamp also received a quarterly stipend of $1,400 to serve as the interim director of the Quincy Regional Airport.
Conte will be eligible for two $2,000 stipends annually once he completes the training for a Class I wastewater treatment works operator's license and a Class A public water supply license issued by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. His contract gives him two years to complete the training.
Director of Administrative Services Glenda Hackemack said the stipends would not be included as part of his base salary.
She said two city employees at the water treatment plant currently have the Class A license, while employees with Environmental Management Corp., which operates the wastewater treatment plant, have the Class I license.