Press Release: DPW director steps down, City seeks new leader to take the helm

December 11, 2020

Office of the Mayor
Patricia Resende
(401) 529-3207

DPW director steps down, City seeks new leader to take the helm

EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – The City of East Providence is seeking a new director of public works.

The opening for director of public works comes after Stephen Coutu, who has lead the department since March 2001, accepted a position with the Bristol County Water Authority.

Prior to his role as DPW director, Coutu spent four years as engineer/deputy director of the department where he oversaw the daily management of DPW operations, supervised and inspected work performed by contractors and engineers and reviewed all subdivisions and development projects for conformance.

Coutu joins the Bristol County Water Authority as its new executive director and lead engineer. He will remain in his current role as DPW director until January and will assist in the transition of a new director.

“We thank Mr. Coutu for his years of service to the City of East Providence and years of dedication to the residents of East Providence,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said. “It will be difficult to find someone of Steve’s caliber, but we will be diligently seeking someone as qualified as he to continue the department’s progress.

“We wish him well on his new endeavor,” DaSilva added.


$100,000 to $115,000 annual (based on experience)
JOB DESCRIPTION: Under the administrative direction of the Mayor, this position assumes primary responsibility for directing, administering, and coordinating the various activities and programs of the Department of Public Works. This responsible management position is a mayoral, at will, non-union appointment that is part of the Mayor’s Cabinet of Department Heads. The incumbent supervises the employees, projects, activities, and sets priorities for the following divisions: Highway, Parks, Central Garage, Public Buildings, Building Inspection, Engineering, Refuse and Recycling, Water and Wastewater Utilities, and Streetlights in order to ensure a high level of efficiency within the department and ensure compliance with the City Charter and ordinances, and related State and Federal laws. Performs related work as required.
ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES OF WORK: Subject to the provisions of the City Charter and to administrative determination of policy, work involves full responsibility in the planning, organizing, directing the work of the public works divisions. Essential duties may include, but are not limited to the following:
o Provides coordination and supervision both directly and through subordinates of approximately 100 full-time employees, and a number of part-time and seasonal employees within the Public Works Department.
o Determines effective and efficient use of the labor and financial resources in meeting the operational requirements of the Department.
o Develops the Department’s budget and Capital Improvement Plan, maintains financial records, and analyzes operational costs. Presents annual budget to the Mayor and City Council.
o Works closely with the City Administration, Public Works Division Supervisors, and other City Departments on planning and implementing City projects.
o Works with staff in the engineering and implementation of public works improvements in the City such as roadway and drainage improvements, water and wastewater utility improvements, park improvements and upgrades, and improvements to City buildings and facilities.
o Develops department policy and procedures to ensure timely completion of tasks and activities in order to meet City goals and objectives and comply with City policies and procedures.
o Provides regular updates and reports to the Mayor on the Department’s activities and projects, and may provide the same to City Council.
o Provides for contractual oversight and administration for the collection of refuse and recycling, and wastewater operations.
o Develops Requests for Proposals, Invitations to bid, and ensures compliance with purchasing rules and regulations.
o Responsible for supervision of public works improvement contracts, and other contractual and/or consulting services.
o Assures timely and appropriate application for State and/or Federal grant assistance when available.
o Interacts with residents and businesses of the City to ensure proper service and appropriately responds to any complaints.
o Plans and Directs emergency response activities such as snow storms, hurricanes, floods, water and wastewater utility interruptions.
o Serves on the City’s Waterfront District Commission as a member of the Design Review Committee to ensure development projects meet appropriate engineering and design standards.
ESSENTIAL ABILITIES, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS: Outstanding ability in administering the activities of a large, multi-faceted department engaged in public works engineering, construction, and operation. Ability to maintain cooperative relationships with employees, division and department heads, other city officials, the public, and state and federal regulatory agencies. Comprehensive knowledge of the principles and practices of civil engineering with special reference to municipal engineering. Thorough knowledge of materials, methods and techniques of public works construction.
Ability to supervise a large and diverse staff, and experience with public sector collective bargaining agreements. Must possess strong communication (both verbally and in writing), and decision-making skills.
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from a college or university with an ABET accredited civil engineering curriculum, or an equivalent related field. Certified as a Professional Engineer in the State of Rhode Island or able to obtain reciprocity within six (6) months; preferred. Ten or more years of progressively responsible experience in municipal public works activities, projects, and engineering; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the desired ability, knowledge, and skill. Experience in supervising staff that are part of collective bargaining agreements, preferred.
o Vacation: 4 weeks per year (prorated based on time of hire)
o Sick time: 15 days per year (4.04 hours earned per pay period)
o Personal days: 4 per year (prorated based on time of hire)
o Longevity pay after five years of service
o Health and Dental Insurance available
o Paid Life Insurance Policy
o 457 Deferred Comp Plan available
o Additional Insurance Plans available
Apply online at:
Application and resume must be submitted no later than December 25th, 2020 by 11:59 pm EST.
At the City of East Providence we celebrate the diversity of our citizenry, and are proud to encourage inclusiveness in our workforce. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.