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Jebbia, Connelly Leave Big Shoes to Fill in City

It’s one thing for an organization to have one important position to fill. But two at the same time? That’s a different story.

Such is the position the city of Wheeling finds itself in currently as longtime Public Works Director Russell Jebbia has announced his retirement while at the same time Planning and Building Administrator Tom Connelly revealed he will be departing for a new opportunity at the federal courthouse in Wheeling.

For 44 years, Jebbia, a former assistant city manager, served as the go-to resource for questions on the city’s public works projects. He’s been a leader in the community, serving on the Wheeling Planning Commission and other organizations. His role leading public works put him in charge of about 170 city employees, and his knowledge of the city’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to infrastructure will be hard to replace.

Connelly’s new role will be as the facilities manager at the U.S. District Courthouse in Wheeling. He departs during a delicate time when it comes to city planning, as some members of Wheeling City Council are pushing for wholesale change in how residential zones should be managed. The city’s Comprehensive Plan also is up for review in a few years, and now a new face will provide guidance and advice for those leading that process.

We wish both men well in their next steps in their journey.

In the meantime, City Manager Robert Herron has a tall order ahead in replacing both departing city department heads.

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