Mayor Ed Pawlowski is submitting the names of Craig Messinger and Michael A. Walker, Esq. to City Council to become Director of Public Works and Director of Community & Economic Development respectively.
Messinger began full-time employment with the city in the Streets Department in 1989. He became Operations Administrator in the Streets Department in 2000; was promoted to Assistant Streets Superintendent in 2005 and became Streets Superintendent in 2006. He was promoted to Deputy Public Works Director in 2012 and has served as interim director of the department since April 2014.
“Craig has been with the city for 27 years,” said Pawlowski. “He has proven himself by handling increased responsibility at every turn. The Department of Public Works has been in excellent hands under his leadership.”
“I really appreciate the confidence that Mayor Pawlowski has shown in me,” said Messinger. “We have a lot of talented and dedicated professionals on the job in public works from top to bottom. They do a great job providing services to the people of the city and I am very proud to lead them.”
Walker was most recently the president and chief executive officer at Community Services for Children Inc., in Allentown, an early education management agency serving 18 Pennsylvania counties. Walker had bottom line responsibility of managing government contracts with general oversight of compliance with federal and state regulations. He also had general oversight of 300 employees.
Walker’s legal career includes a four year stint as Senior Legal Counsel for the Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. His duties included responsibility for key legal issues affecting new legislation and working with House Counsel to interpret the impact and legal ramifications to constituents.
Walker has also served as President and CEO of the Urban League of Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Springs and Vice President and General Counsel for the Urban League of Philadelphia. In those positions he oversaw organizational budgets, secured funding for various initiatives and directed the management of various programs dealing with housing counseling, economic development and education.
Pawlowski said, “Michael comes very well qualified. He brings both private and public sector experience to the job. I am confident that he will be an outstanding leader of this vital city department.”
"I am both humbled and delighted to be nominated for the position of DCED Director,” said Walker. “I believe my skill set and eagerness to serve the public will be an asset to the administration and to the city of Allentown."
The Public Works department administers a variety of annual programs that affect the health, convenience and comfort of city residents and the community, including the maintenance and repair of all city streets, bridges, stormwater lines and sidewalks, as well as a comprehensive traffic signal and signing network; the design of public works projects and review of related construction; the maintenance and repair of all city motorized equipment; the collection and disposal of solid waste; and the maintenance and repair of city owned buildings.
The department either on the whole or in part has tackled a number of significant projects during Messinger’s interim tenure, including the construction of the American Parkway Bridge, the reconstruction of the South Albert Street Bridge, the start of improvements to the Livingston Watershed, the downtown traffic signal adaptive system and the advent of single stream recycling.
The director of DCED supervises a number of city bureaus, including planning, health, building standards and safety, economic development, community development and the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant program. Among other responsibilities, the director develops an annual operating and capital budget for the department and serves on various commissions, like Allentown Economic Development Corporation.
Both nominations must be confirmed by City Council.