By Jim Hagerty
CITY HALL – Mark Stockman is the city’s new director of the Public Works Department.
Stockman was named interim director May 8 after Matt Vitner resigned from the post.
Stockman has been with the city for nearly three decades, most recently serving as the superintendent of streets and equipment. He is the third head of public works in just over a year.
Vitner spent 21 years with the Cook County Highway Department before becoming city engineer in Larry Morrissey’s administration in 2012. He replaced Tim Hanson at the top of the department in Jan. 2016 when Hanson left for the Rock River Reclamation District.
A Brainerd, Minnesota native, Stockman came to the City of Rockford in 1989.
“To me, Mark is the natural fit,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “He has tremendous knowledge, experience for his staff and peers because of his work for the city for more than 20 years. His proven track record of success has demonstrated his leadership in the department.”
As director of public works, Stockman will oversee a multitude of city services in three divisions. The Engineering Division is responsible for the Rockford’s capital improvement; stormwater management; traffic engineering, including permits and parking; and special events. Public Works also manages the city’s forestry stock, snow and ice removal, and potholes and street sweeping, which are part of the Street Division. The Water Division oversees Rockford’s environmental testing, fire hydrant flushing and water quality programs.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the city as the interim public works director while a permanent solution is determined,” Stockman said in a release.
He will have significant infrastructure projects on his plate off the bat, including the overhaul of the Whitman Street interchange, the spaghetti-network of on and off ramps that connect Rural Street, Whitman and Illinois 251 to downtown. It was placed on the back burner for other downtown projects under Morrissey like the Amerock Embassy Suites and City Market.
Vitner helped spearhead the initial plan back in 2012, when officials estimated it would cost about $4 million to replace decaying bridges and keep the rest of the interchange. Estimates of around $16 million were derived but later scrapped for a host of other options, unveiled last month as Morrissey left office. The road system accommodates about 50,000 cars per day.
Stockman’s salary information was not available by press time. As permanent public works director, Vitner was paid $125,878 last year.