Port Angeles acting Public Works director to leave for another job

PORT ANGELES — James Burke, Port Angeles deputy director of operations and acting Public Works and Utilities director, is stepping down, city officials said.

Burke, who has served as the city’s acting public works director since former Director Craig Fulton resigned in April, has accepted another job in McMinnville, Ore., acting Port Angeles City Manager Nathan West said Tuesday.

“James has served the city so well for many years here in Port Angles, and we’re so grateful for all that he’s invested in the better development of the Public Works and Utilities Department,” West told the City Council at its June 5 meeting.

“This is going to be James’ last council meeting, and we’re extremely sorry to be losing James. But he has done amazing things for this community, including the CSO [combined sewer overflow] project and a number of others that he was responsible for way back when he was in engineering.”

West added that Burke consistently took on greater responsibilities, “stepping up pretty much every year he’s been employed here to take on more, and to do more, for the city of Port Angeles.”

Couldn’t be reached

Burke could not be reached for comment last Friday or Tuesday.

His last day with the city will be Friday, West said.

“We are in the process of reviewing applications and plan to have an interim [public works and utilities] director in place beginning next Monday,” West said in a Tuesday interview.

“At this time, I don’t have any more details on that.”

West said he expected to have more information about the city’s search for a public works and utilities director Friday.

Fulton resigned April 27.

West said that Burke’s resignation had nothing to do with Fulton’s departure.

Also leaving the public works and utilities department in recent months was Michael Cyr, who managed the City Light Operations Division.

Managed project

Burke was the project manager for the $47 million combined sewer overflow project, the largest public works project in the city’s history.

Since the CSO project was completed in 2016, no raw sewage has entered Port Angeles Harbor during periods of heavy rain, keeping millions of gallons of effluent from entering the environment, city officials have said.

“Job well done,” Mayor Sissi Bruch told Burke at the June 5 council meeting. “We thank you for everything and we wish you really good luck.”

City Council member Cherie Kidd recalled that Burke was the father of Port Angeles’ first sesquicentennial baby.

Melania Christine Burke was born in 2012 to James and Rebecca Burke as the city celebrated its 150th anniversary.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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