Superintendents of public works are responsible for supervising a locality’s public works department and its work in the areas of traffic control, street repair and maintenance, street lighting, and other essential and non-essential services provided by such departments. As heads of public departments, they are also responsible for meeting environmental standards and regulations, training lower-level employees, and administrative and managerial tasks related to the development, organization, and implementation of public works projects.
Given the complexities of this senior-level position, most superintendents of public works have significant prior experience in public works departments and great familiarity with the duties, responsibilities, and tasks of these departments. Due to the wide-ranging managerial and supervisory skills required, most in this position have strong analytical and problem-solving skills to manage projects and communications. Although working up to the position from within is possible in smaller departments, a bachelor’s degree or higher in management, urban planning, environmental engineering, and other related fields is generally required.
Although most work is performed in an office within a city/county/state building, superintendents of public works often find themselves outdoors in sometimes-harsh weather as they oversee, inspect, and otherwise participate in public works projects. While they rarely perform physical labor in these situations, they are often experienced in the work being done and equipment used, which allows them to apply this knowledge in on-site planning and problem-solving in order to better complete a project.
Superintendent of Public Works Tasks
Oversee safety training, regulations and their compliance.
Oversee daily operations for the Department of Public Works.
Oversee emergency operations due to inclement weather, and in response to forecasted severe weather situations.
Oversee public works activities including the maintenance of streets, drainage, and public buildings.
Ensure regulatory compliance standards are being met or addressed.