A long-time employee in the city of Madison’s Engineering Department will be promoted to director under a restructuring plan approved by city commissioners.

Ryan Hegg, currently the building official/engineering technician for the city, will be promoted to director of engineering and community development. The Engineering Department will be renamed the Engineering and Community Development Department and will include Hegg, current engineering technician Dan Whitlock, a building official and code enforcement officer (a position for which the city is currently advertising), and an administrative assistant.

Hegg, who has been with the city of Madison for 16 years, would oversee the four-person department.

City commissioners approved the changes recommended by City Administrator Jameson Berreth on Monday night.

“(Hegg) has largely been leading that department for many months now, and I think everybody’s been very pleased with him in that area,” said Berreth.

Berreth’s recommendation to restructure the department comes after the city’s unsuccessful search for a new city engineer. That position, originally held by Chad Comes, became vacant in April after Comes accepted a position with the city of Sioux Falls. The city engineer position requires applicants to have years of education and training to be licensed as a professional engineer. Berreth said that many cities around South Dakota as well as engineering firms have been struggling to find professional engineers.

As part of the restructuring, the city will cease advertising for a full-time city engineer. Berreth said that in the future, the city would need to look at contracting with an engineering firm for a professional engineer when it comes to large projects, but that current staff could oversee smaller projects.

“Many projects, particularly large capital improvements, will always need to be completed by an outside engineering firm,” Berreth wrote in a memo to commissioners. “This is due to either the size of the project, need for varying engineering expertise and/or requirements by funding agencies.”

Berreth recommends an administrative assistant for that department to help with permitting, customer relations and related work to help productivity.

“That position would also allow our managers as well as our technicians to focus more on the technical work that is required of them,” he said.

The changes will be included in the city’s personnel resolution that commissioners are expected to discuss and approve at their Nov. 22 meeting. Discussion and action to determine a process for selecting an outside engineering firm to serve as the official city engineer would occur later.