RIDGEFIELD — Peter Hill, longtime leader of Ridgefield’s public works and highway department, has retired after nearly 45 years with the town.

Hill’s dedication and knowledge of the department’s operations will be sorely missed, First Selectman Rudy Marconi said, and the town is planning to reorganize and hire a civil engineer to head the public works and highway operations.

“Peter Hill is a unique individual in that not many people dedicate 45 years of their career to a single employer,” Marconi said. “He’s a Vietnam veteran. We thank him for his service to our country. We thank him for his service to our community. His No. 1 goal in his heart was the roads in this town, to make sure they were as good if not better than any roads around.”

For years, Hill was a regular at selectmen’s budget meetings, making the case for his department’s staff and equipment needs, explaining different paving methods, the importance of drainage work before repaving, the way townwide snow-plowing is organized.

The town has been without a full-time town engineer since the retirement of Charles Fisher two years ago, although various engineers — including Fisher — do work for the town on a consulting basis. With the job of public works director now open, as well, the town is looking to fill both roles with one hire.

“What we did is we posted a job for a civil engineer and see if we can find someone, a civil engineer, to become the director of public works, to oversee that department, and oversee engineering,” Marconi said. “Most of your municipalities at 25,000 people and 200 miles of road have town engineers that are directors of public works, as well. That the model that we’re going to be following. The Board of Selectmen has agreed, so what we’ll do is, we’ve posted that job and we’ve had two or three applicants at this point. There’s not been a big response.”