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Director of the Department of Public Works Vanessa Dale Burns Confirmation Resolution of 1999
PR 13-297

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Chairman Linda W. Cropp at the request of the Mayor


Chairman Linda W. Cropp at the.request of the Mayor, introduced the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on Public Works and the Environment.

To confirm the Mayoral appointment of Ms. Vanessa Dale Burns as the Director of the Department of Public Works.

RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the "Director of the Department of Public Works Vanessa Dale Burns Confirmation Resolution of 1999".

Sec. 2. The Council of the District of Columbia confirms the appointment of:

Ms. Vanessa Dale Burns
905 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois 60202

as Director of the Department of Public Works, in accordance with section 2 of the Confirmation Act of 1978, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-142; D.C. Code, sec. 1-633.7), to serve from the date of confirmation by the Council of the District of Columbia at the pleasure of the Mayor of the District of Columbia.

Sec. 3. The Council of the District of Columbia shall transmit a copy of this resolution, upon its adoption, each to the nominee and to the Office of the Mayor.

Sec. 4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Vanessa Dale Burns
905 Sherman Avenue
Evanston. IL 60202
(H) (847) 570-4861
(W) (847) 866-2958


Versatile manages with over 20 years professional experience in public service management... this diverse background includes creative problem solving, project management, team building, staff development, policy analysis, program development, fiscal management, contract negotiation and administration, void extensive research skills.


Accomplished in many facets of management. Proven ability to increase productivity and efficiency to enhance service delivery by employees, through utilization of equipment and personnel in order to create new sad improved service programming. Possess extensive people skills which helps to create a team atmosphere and improve productivity.

Key Responsibilities and Accomplishments

Executive Management: As New Haven Director of Public works, demonstrated effective oral and planning skills to implement more efficient and streamlined operations by increasing the departmental productivity while reducing budget by over one million dollars and cutting the workforce by thirty percent; in Cleveland, had direct responsibility for staffs numbing 500 employees with annual budgets exceeding $46 million. In executive and manager roles, have successfully managed such diverse operations as Engineering Services, Street Maintenance, Facility Management, Bridge Operations, Solid Waste Management, Public Space Permits and Inspection, Fleet Services, Traffic and Parking, and Water and Sewer.

Developed, introduced and implemented work and service standards ...designed and implemented safety measures to increase worker visibility and reduce injuries, especially lower back injuries. Evaluated long term solid waste options for the City of New Haven whose negotiations led to one of the most favorable long term solid waste contracts in the State at the time. Fostered and reinforced a supportive organizational culture and team oriented environment... Promoted professionalism among supervisors and line workers, resulting in improved morale sad increased sense of pride is the organization. . . Decreased overtime costs substantially in all municipalities due to operational changes.

Service Delivery: Refined and enhanced compliant tracking system to effectively monitor problems areas or enraging issues to maximize accountability to city residents... Enhanced core neighborhoods by increasing-general-cleanliness of these often congested areas and tripling the number of sweet sweepings in those areas which lack sufficient off street parking... Developed Paper Bag Leaf Collection program in early 1990s which quadrupled the number of fall leaf pickups provided to residents while reducing labor by more than qty percent of previous program ... Retrofitted packer trucks to improve leaf collection pickup in Cleveland... Introduced and facilitated extensive use of telecommunication technology and computerization to increase supervisory productivity... Participated in negotiation of municipal privatization competition for street resurfacing and waste receptacle collection in Cleveland... Developed new Snow and Ice Operational Plan and utilized state-of-the-art equipment for snow removal.

Research and Fiscal Skills: Served for almost ten years as a Fiscal and Legislative Analyst, senior staff member of legislative body professional research staff Was responsible for policy, program and fiscal analysis to increase Board of Alderman effectiveness in malting decisions concerning municipal matters that came under then purview... Served as staffer to the Public Health Committee, Connecticut General Assembly, which evaluates such important issues as Managed Care, Licensure, Disease Management, and other pertinent Health policy concerns.

Marketing: Created marketing strategies for all municipal programming utilizing pest, cable television, billboards, mass mailings to inform consumers regarding program parameters.


1998 - present Director of Public Works, City of Evanston, Illinois
1997 -1998 Staff, Public Health Committee, Connecticut General Assembly
1995 -1996 Assistant Public Service Director, City of Cleveland, Ohio
1990 -1994 Director of Public Works, City of New Haven, Connecticut
1980 -1989 Fiscal and Legislative Analyst, New Haven Board of Alderman


Other professional experience includes Loan Officer; Cost Accountant; Youth Manpower Plainer


1981 MPA, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut
1973 BA, American University, Washington, District of Columbia

Major: Government, with honors
Received undergraduate degree in two-years
Also attended Yale School of Organization and Management and University of Wisconsin - Madison


1994 Finalist, Top Tan Public Works Leaders, American Public Works Association
1993 YWCA Woman in Leadership Award
1993 Bethel AME Zion Public Services Award
1978, 1994 NAACP Pubic Service Award & Recognition


NAACP, Member
American Public Works Association, Member
Dutch Block Association, President (Former)
9th & 25th Ward Committee, Member (Former)

REFERENCES Furnished Upon Request



  • Belief that the best managers should manage by making their employees understand that they are just as important as the "big bosses" and that they are as willing to work just as many hours to make the department or organization work efficiently.


  • I believe that senior managers should know how all jobs are supposed to be performed and not just by what some other supervisor tells them but by personal observation. Employees should never be sure when you will or will not show up to watch them performing their job responsibilities. This increases job accountability and sets the tone.


  • I believe that you need to develop in your employees a sense of ownership in how the department is perceived by your customers and that a positive reaction from your customers (residents) is the desired outcome.


  • I believe that administrative, operational and supervisory personnel should all be treated equally regarding the manner in which it is expected they will perform their job obligations. For example time and attendance requirements pursuant to specific union contractual language should be adhered to equally. No special consideration unless there are some serious extenuating circumstances. Once the expectation bar is raised, it should never be lowered regardless of job classification, political affiliation or family connection.

Holistic Approach to Employee Relations:

  • I believe that employees are people and they should not only be numbers in someone's sterile book, but as people at all times. Any personal problems must be dealt with in a straightforward manner and not avoided to enhance the ability of the employees to be as productive as possible and allow the employee to deliver to our customer base the service they expect and deserve for their tax dollars.


  • I. believe that all employees should be given every opportunity to learn as many skills as possible and at minimal in their job classification management should make sure they are fully trained and that lack of proper training should never be an excuse for the job not being done appropriately.

Resource Utilization:

  • I think that new and creative avenues should be investigated on an ongoing process to review functional areas to constantly enhance the delivery of critical municipal services.

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