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SLO County supervisors approve new Public Works director — and a $180,980-a-year contract

San Luis Obispo County supervisors will consider approving a contract to hire Daniel "Colt" Esenwein as the new director of Public Works.
San Luis Obispo County supervisors will consider approving a contract to hire Daniel "Colt" Esenwein as the new director of Public Works. Courtesy of San Luis Obispo County

Update, 2 p.m. Tuesday

San Luis Obispo County Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a contract to hire Daniel "Colt" Esenwein to direct Public Works.

“Colt Esenwein has a reputation as an innovator who takes action to make projects work,” John Peschong, the Board of Supervisors Chair, said. “Colt understands the need to build coalitions of support and balance competing interests. I’m confident he is a leader who will get the job done and I welcome him to San Luis Obispo County.”

"I’m am honored to join the leadership team at the county and am looking forward to serving the community alongside the outstanding group of people at Public Works,” Esenwein said.

Original story

San Luis Obispo County supervisors will consider hiring a new Public Works director on Tuesday, when they vote on whether to approve a $180,980-a-year contract with their top pick.

Candidate Daniel "Colt" Esenwein is currently the assistant director of Public Works in Santa Cruz County and was previously the deputy director of Public Works for Stanislaus County. He served in the Navy from 1990 to 1994, holds a bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Cal Poly and is a registered professional civil engineer.

If the contract is approved, Esenwein will begin work on April 23.

The position became vacant in November 2017 when Wade Horton was promoted to chief administrative officer. The search to replace him began in January.

The $180,980 salary breaks down to about $15,000 a month and is about $10,000 a year higher than the amount Horton made in the position in 2016, according to Transparent California. Total annual compensation for the job, including salary and benefits, will be about $272,950.

The new director will manage about 280 full-time employees who oversee 1,335 miles of county-maintained roadways; engineering of proposed land development; facility planning, design, construction and maintenance; water planning and operation of water and waste water facilities.

The biggest issue facing the department in the next few years will likely be the continued implementation of the state's new groundwater management regulations, which require creation of long-range plans to sustain California's groundwater basins.

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