Public Works Director Bruce Kolwicz retired Nov. 1 after more than 20 years on the job.

Kolwicz has been head of one of the biggest city departments since the Fred Lisman administration. He started his city career as Lisman’s mayoral assistant, then Lisman named him to the director’s job.

Overseeing the Public Works Department put him at the helm of street repair and plowing, as well as countless other infrastructure projects in the city.

Neither Kolwicz nor Mayor Ben Blake could be reached for comment earlier this week. Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith, however, said he expects Blake will name an interim public works director before choosing a replacement.

Smith said Kolwicz has been planning to retire for some time.

Thomas Beirne, who serves on the pension and retirement board, said the same, but noted that Kolwicz had not made a formal request to the board as of the October meeting.

But Beirne said Kolwicz mentioned he was thinking about retiring when he spoke to him on a few occasions after Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

“He leaves big shoes to fill,” Beirne said.

Mayoral candidate Peter Spalthoff, however, speculated that Kolwicz’ retirement reflected on his relationship with the city’s Democratic mayor.

“The departure of Bruce so prematurely leaves a major void in the city, and while we have capable people who will step up and fill in, Bruce's leaving should send a clear message that ‘things are not good’ in Milford,” Spalthoff said.

Kolwicz’ salary was about $102,000 this year.