Garden City – William J. Schweitzer, who has headed the Ada County Highway District for nearly a decade, announced Wednesday that he will retire in February 2011 when his contract expires.
Schweitzer, 56, is the longest-serving director in the history of ACHD, which began operations in 1972. The ACHD has five elected Commissioners who set overall policy and, by law, hire an executive to implement their directives and to manage day-to-day operations.
“My hope is to give the ACHD Commission adequate time to search for a new director to run the District – an organization it has been my pleasure to lead for a decade,” said Schweitzer, whose employment contract expires on February 5, 2011.
In his time at ACHD, Schweitzer defended the District from an attempt to dissolve it, implemented a much-praised customer-service program for employees and fundamentally reorganized the agency, shaking up its management and operational structure.
The 2006 reorganization ushered in a new project delivery process that is based on early public involvement and problem solving several years in advance of construction. The $21 million East ParkCenter Bridge and the $3 million Meridian Split Corridor, Phase I are two of the first large projects completed under the process. The well-received projects were completed early and on budget.
ACHD’s customer service program has been well received by stakeholders, as measured by a third-party review: Stakeholders reported a marked improvement with their satisfaction with employee performance in before-and-after interviews. The provision of customer service now accounts for 40 percent of each employee’s annual review.
One of the brightest moments in Schweitzer’s tenure was the passage of the renewed and expanded vehicle registration fees in November 2008, a vote that was widely viewed as a referendum on the ACHD. The measure – which targeted enhancements in school safety, bicycling and pedestrian facilities and congestion relief – received two or every three votes cast when only a simple majority was needed for approval.