Port Neches’ Clint Fore has been preparing for public works director role for 25 years

Published 12:34 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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PORT NECHES — Clint Fore may be in a new role, but he’s a very familiar face in Port Neches.

“I’ve been here 25 years — 26 including part-time,” he said. “I started out as summer help when I was 17 years old on the back of a garbage truck. I got hired full-time in 1998 and I’ve been here ever since.”

Sanitation is now just one of the several departments he oversees, which includes 42 employees.

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Fore replaces Taylor Shelton, who retired in January following 22 years in Port Neches, 18 as public works director. However, Shelton had announced his intention to retire in 2021. In June of that year, Fore was awarded the position and began working closely with Shelton for the remainder of the year. However, the two had long worked in close quarters, with Fore serving as assistant public works director prior to being named to the new role.

“When we learned that I was going to obtain this position, we really buckled down and worked on my weaknesses so I’d be ready to go when he did leave,” Fore said.

While at 17 he didn’t fully expect to one day be leading the department, it was always a thought.

“I was hoping to be in supervision,” he said. “I was fortunate.”

Since his time on the back of a garbage truck, Fore has served as assistant supervisor over streets and drainage, sanitation supervisor and building official.

“We keep the city going,” he said of the public works department. “We’re always upgrading the infrastructure and keeping the infrastructure right, of course water quality superior, keeping the drainage flowing, streets repaired and picking up sanitation every day, and keep the city moving forward.”

Ongoing projects include a rotating street maintenance program that began three years ago, and several infrastructure-related items that will be funded by grants and department funds.

Clint Fore sifts through ongoing projects within his department. (Monique Batson/The News)

“We have about $12 million in projects that’s going to kick off this year,” Fore said. “It may not be finished this year, but they’ll be started this year.”

In addition there will be work to water lines, water treatment plant improvements and sewer line replacement, among other agenda items.

“When (City Manager Andre Wimer) promoted me to public works director, I told him, ‘Oh thanks, Mr. Wimer, you just issued $7.5 million in projects to me on my first year,’” Fore said with a laugh. “He said, “Well you get through this one and the rest will be cake.’ 

And so far, he said, it’s been exciting.

“I’m looking forward to putting my personal touch on some things,” he said. “Mr. Shelton set us up for success. He was a big advocate of improving the infrastructure and has made tremendous progress in the 22 years he was here. I’m looking forward to continuing that on and boosting morale here for the employees. I tell everyone we may all be in different departments, but we’re all on the same team.”

Challenges, he said, have mostly been what can’t be seen.

“It seems like in the last five years we’ve been hit with everything from hard freeze events to snow storms and plant explosions and hurricanes,” Fore said. “Unfortunately I’ve been through a whole lot of hurricanes since I’ve been here 25 years. That’s really the challenge is staying prepared for what may happen.”

Mayor Glenn Johnson has worked alongside Fore in some capacity for more than two decades.

“He’s done a terrific job with the city so far and he’s an asset for the city,” Johnson said. “I think he’s going to do a tremendous job as public works director.”

When not at City Hall, Fore enjoys time with his wife and three children — a 7-year-old son and two daughters ages 18 and 22.

“We have a big ol’ family,” he said. “Every Sunday we get together with the extended family, and I’m very family oriented. I like to do stuff with the kids.”