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Lathrop restores public works director position

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POSTED February 5, 2013 1:01 a.m.

LATHROP – Lathrop’s Director of Public Works is coming back.

The title anyway.

Just four months after the decision to combine the post with the responsibilities of the community development director, the Lathrop City Council decided to make it a standalone position once again.

The recent resignation of principal engineer Mary Grace Houlihan, according to the staff report, created a void among those capable of handling the growing development workload and forced city staff to look at other option.

Current City Manager Stephen Salvatore had previously served as Lathrop’s public works director, and helped provide oversight during his transition to the top post.

“With the shift in emphasis to development oriented infrastructure projects, along with the recent resignation of the Principal Engineer, staff believes that the reactivation of the Director of Public Works position and a reassignment of duties and responsibilities for that position better meets the city’s need for management level leadership and expertise for the Public Works Department at this time,” said the staff report.

Key development projects like the initial round of single-family home construction at River Islands is scheduled to begin within the next several months. Additional development – especially in areas that had been stagnant – is forcing the city to look at ways to meet the escalating workload.

Facilities wise, Lathrop couldn’t be in a better position.

Last summer the department moved into new digs on Louise Avenue. It not only provides additional space not afforded by the tiny buildings previously utilized, but also provides a replication of the city’s master computer mainframe in case of an emergency or a flood on the west side of I-5.

Because of cost-saving associated with not filling the Principal Engineer position at this time, and vacancies in both the junior engineer and permit technician positions, the move won’t have any impact on Lathrop’s overall budget for the 2013/13 fiscal year.

The position was unanimously approved as part of the consent calendar without any discussion among the members of the council.

Former City Manager Cary Keaten – like Salvatore – held the public works director position prior to being promoted. He now oversees the Solano County Irrigation District in Vacaville.

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