It has become a running joke over the years that when Cary town staff have a question about anything, they should “just ask Tim.”
They’re referring to Tim Bailey, one of Cary’s two assistant managers. Soon, they’ll have to find someone new to ask about the town’s roads, parks and capital projects. Bailey, 53, is retiring on Aug. 31 after nearly 27 years with the town.
Town staff and council members say they’re losing an invaluable resource.
“He’s a walking encyclopedia,” councilman Don Frantz said.
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Bailey served as an engineer, assistant town engineer and engineering director before filling the role of assistant town manager in November 2013. This will be the second recent change to Cary’s town manager’s office. Sean Stegall began working as the new town manager this month.
“I’m excited and also a little sad,” Bailey said. “I’ve been here so long, and it’s interesting thinking about that ending.”
During his tenure, Bailey worked on hundreds of projects in town, from roads to parks to utilities. Former Town Manager Ben Shivar described him as “one of the architects for the way Cary looks and feels.”
Mayor Harold Weinbrecht adds, “Cary is a better place because of all his work.”
“He’s got his fingerprints on everything that’s happening in Cary,” Weinbrecht said.
Town staff and council members describe Bailey as innovative, a great leader and knowledgeable about everything, even beyond engineering issues.
“I think he’s probably the best trained, experienced, thoughtful and analytic engineers I’ve worked with,” Shivar said. “I found working with him over the years that his judgment was always spot-on about issues, and he always had the best interests of the town.”
While some municipalities only have been pushing for different modes of transportation in recent years, as traffic worsens, including bicycle lanes, greenways or buses, Shivar said Bailey has long been focused on integrating them into the town’s transportation network.
“It wasn’t just cars,” Shivar said. “He understood that at some point we kind of had to spread that a little bit to make transportation and traffic concerns a little better. So he was always thinking about bikeways, bus or the discussions about light rail.”
However, Bailey continued to focus on developing the town’s road network and saving money by piecing together developer and N.C. Department of Transportation contributions, as well as grants. The future Morrisville Parkway extension and N.C. 540 interchange is an example of how Bailey worked to keep the town’s contribution as low as possible.
“I was always kind of fascinated by how he worked and managed the development side of things, and he would always make sure that the town and taxpayers got their best advantage,” Shivar said.
Bailey also influenced major projects, including improvements to High House Road and Cary Parkway, constructing the North Cary Park and the Bond Park Community Center, and managing the town’s capital plan.
“One of the things that I really enjoyed is building all our infrastructure as our community has grown from a small town to a large town,” he said. “I like to see and build things, and there has been a lot of things built in that time frame.”
Along the way, he garnered respect from town staff, as well as many people from organizations such as the NCDOT.
“Because of the relationships he built with outside agencies like DOT, Cary could always be a player at the table when issues came up,” Shivar said. “That’s something I think a lot of people don’t know.”
But Bailey will never take credit for his accomplishments, Shivar said.
“He’s very humble,” he said. “I think that’s a testament to his management ability and the respect he gets from people, because what I think that tells you is ... it’s not about Tim but what’s best for Cary.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon