Sixteen months after the retirement of the city's public works director, council members have hired a Riverside County city engineer to fill the position, citing his expertise in obtaining state and federal funds for transportation projects.
Barry McClellan, a nine-year city engineer and director of public works in Moreno Valley, will become Irvine's public works director Sept. 11.
He succeeds Bob Graham, who retired in April, 1994.
Nineteen-year Irvine public works employee Skip Tracy served as acting director after Graham's retirement.
McClellan, a licensed engineer with 20 years' experience, was one of four finalists chosen from 67 applicants. City officials say replacing Graham was delayed by Orange County's bankruptcy filing.
McClellan's salary was still being negotiated, and city officials Monday said they could not yet report how much he will be paid. Councilman Greg Smith said the job pays about $90,000 a year.
Smith said McClellan was an attractive candidate because of his extensive contacts in state and federal transportation agencies.
"We have not been as successful as we could have been in past years in getting grant money," Smith said.
"We're still a developing city."
The city's public works director must consider a range of regional issues that could affect transportation needs in the city, Smith said, such as proposals to turn nearby El Toro Marine Corps Air Station into a commercial airport after the military base closes in 1999.
"The impact that could have on potential traffic issues made us think long and hard about how important the relationship is between the public works director and state and federal transportation agencies," Smith said.
McClellan, he said, "has a wide range of contacts."