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Black History Month Powered by TSU, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs 

Leaders In The Community

Source: Sheryl Victorian / Harry Hayes

Harry J. Hayes was appointed and confirmed as the Director of Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) on August 1, 2007. As Director, Mr. Hayes oversees a $86 million budget and is responsible for solid waste services to approximately 423,000 households. Houston’s solid waste operation is the 4th largest municipal solid waste operation in the nation and the largest in the Southern United States.

Beyond serving as the Solid Waste Director, Mr. Hayes is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the City of Houston. Originally appointed to this position by Mayor Annise D. Parker as she began her final term of office in 2014, Mr. Hayes was immediately reappointed as COO in January 2016 by newly elected Mayor Sylvester Turner.

As COO, he reports directly to the Mayor and has oversight of major Houston operations which include the following departments: Police, Fire & EMS, Public Works & Engineering, Municipal Courts, Solid Waste Management and Fleet Management. The Operations Group employs more than 15,000 of the city’s nearly 21,000 employees and has combined budgets of nearly $3.5 billion.

Mr. Hayes has been employed with the City of Houston for 25 years, originally beginning his service in 1988 as a special assistant to City Council Member Rodney Ellis. As a public sector employee, he has held positions as Human Resources Manager, Safety & Training Manager, and Human Resources Director.

Mr. Hayes graduated from Texas Southern University in 1988 with a B.A. in French. He did specialized studies at the Universite de Bordeaux III in Talence, France; la Connaissance de la France with the French Ministry of Culture in Paris, France; and a Leland Congressional internship in the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Hayes is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as an enlisted member and an officer, specializing in administration, human resources and logistics. He is married with three children.