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Public Works directors job filled with diverse duties
Meet your government: David Dockery, Gainesville Public Works director
David Dockery is the director of Public Works for the city of Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed
Meet your government

Every Monday, The Times takes a look at someone who keeps local government running smoothly. Previous articles in the series can be found online at
Gainesville’s Public Works Director David Dockery is in charge of, in his own words, a “diverse, eclectic group of largely unrelated functions.”

As director of the city’s Public Works Department, Dockery oversees various city government functions from the maintenance of city streets and the collection of city residents’ garbage to the operation of Alta Vista Cemetery.

A biologist who came to the city 18 years ago to establish a biological program to test the health of area streams for the city’s Public Utilities Department, Dockery now has a mostly administrative job in a different city department that has hardly anything to do with biology.

Dockery, a Cleveland native, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at North Georgia College and State University. He came to

Gainesville fresh out of his studies of fisheries biology at the University of Georgia’s graduate school.

Dockery was the chosen candidate for the position of assistant Public Works director three years ago. When his former boss, Adrian Niles, retired last year, Dockery stepped into the department’s lead role.

Today, Dockery’s job is very different from the role he stepped into as a freshly graduated biologist 18 years ago.

“My job now is purely administration of the various divisions and programs that Public Works is involved in,” Dockery said. “... I did hard science for a very short segment of my career with the city... ever since then, it’s been management and administration.”

Dockery still counts some of his original work with the city as some of his greatest accomplishments.

“Being involved in the city’s proactive approach to dealing with environmental issues — I think we’re probably one of, if not the most, proactive communities on environmental issues,” Dockery said. “We’ve currently got two restoration projects in the works right now; we’re particularly proud of that. That all came out of environmental assessment work that was done about a decade ago. Some of that stuff is now coming to fruition as far as structural projects — that’s really rewarding to see.”

But besides being in charge of one of the city’s largest departments, Dockery is a silent partner in a fly fishing retail store and guide service, Scout master for his son’s Boy Scout troop and treasurer for Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Cleveland where Dockery and his wife live with their 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.

When he’s asked about who he is outside his management of largely unrelated functions, Dockery answers: “I am my kids’ dad.”