RANTOUL — Longtime Rantoul Public Works Director Greg Hazel will retire this year, and the village has started a search for his replacement.

Hazel notified Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer he intended to retire when he closed on the sale of his Rantoul property, according to a village press release. Eisenhauer asked Hazel to remain in the position until his replacement is hired, “allowing for continuity of leadership and a successful transition.”

Said Eisenhauer: “With the incredibly large number of public works projects ongoing, it was impossible for us to go several months without top leadership. The sports complex, work in the industrial park, underground electrical work, Maplewood Drive and other infrastructure projects in stages from planning to construction require Mr. Hazel’s involvement until we are able to identify our next director.”

Hazel’s final date of employment will be determined when the vacancy is filled.

Hazel recently finished his 22nd year with the village

“The days have passed quickly,” he said, noting that former Assistant Director Pete Passarrelli arrived a couple of months after he did, and they helped to lead the public works department since 1998.

“We have had a great staff (who I will miss) during the entire time, and through their efforts and insights have helped shape the department and the many services provided within the village.”

Hazel said it will be difficult “transitioning away from the wide variety of daily challenges and requests we encounter, but it feels to be the right time.”

Hazel and his wife, Kim, are southern Illinois natives (Johnston City and West Frankfort, respectively).

“As time passes, our families are needing more of our time and assistance,” he said.

The village began advertising the position Sept. 1. It will be posted locally, regionally and nationally “in respected public works publications.”

Resources by public works partners will also be used to provide notification of the application process. Well-known social media sites will also be used that focus on the job-seekers market to widen the range of potential candidates nationally.

The village will continue to accept applications through Oct. 2. The applications will be reviewed through Oct. 16. A small committee of village staff will conduct a first round of interviews between Oct. 19 and Oct. 30.

A second round of interviews will take place Nov. 2-20 by staff members who participated in the first round of interviews as well as additional employees from the Public Works Department.

The mayor and board of trustees will conduct a final round of interviews Dec. 1, and the mayor will make his recommendation to the board Dec. 8. The new director will begin work in January.