All hands on deck: former Navy officer takes over helm at county Public Works

The San Juan County Council Tuesday approved the appointment of Frank Mulcahy, a 20-year Navy veteran, as director of the county Public Works department.  - Contributed photo
The San Juan County Council Tuesday approved the appointment of Frank Mulcahy, a 20-year Navy veteran, as director of the county Public Works department.
— image credit: Contributed photo

After 20 years in the Navy, San Juan County's new public works director ought to know a thing or two about what it takes to operate in the marine environment.

The County Council on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Navy veteran Frank Mulcahy as director of the county's Department of Public Works.

A resident of Groton, Conn., Mulcahy's most recent assignment with the Navy was as public works director of its submarine base in New London, Conn. He was recommended for the top post at county public works by Administrator Pete Rose, who said he was "impressed" by the breadth of experience Mulcahy amassed with the Navy.

In addition to the public works' director post in New London, Mulcahy's resume with the Navy includes:

Crisis response operations engineering team leader, Joint Force Command, Naples, Italy.

Staff action officer for economic development, Multi-National Forces, Baghdad, Iraq.

Construction and contracts director, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va.

"I knew Mr. Mulchay had the requisite skills to work with us islanders when he gave the example of a successful experience he had negotiating a new road that required the agreement of both Serbians and Albanians," Rose said.

Mulcahy begins his tenure as county public works director Oct. 17.

The county received applications from 36 candidates seeking the vacant director's post at public works, which became vacant in April when Jon Shannon stepped down after eight years as department director. Mulcahy, who earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a masters degree in construction management at the University of Washington, was among five finalist selected to participate in a three-day interview process that began Sept. 8.

The interview panel consisted of members of the community, a county council representative, members of public works' management team, three department managers and the county administrator.

The director of public works oversees the county's largest department, with 65 full-time employees and an annual budget totaling roughly $13 million. In addition to maintaining county-owned roads,public works operates a stormwater and a solid waste utility, coordinates engineering for public projects; purchases and maintains the county's fleet of cars, trucks, heavy equipment and boats, and maintains county-owned buildings and property.

Since April, public works has been supervised by veteran department manager Russ Harvey, who will return to his positions as operations manager when Mulcahy takes over the helm.


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