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NEW PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR IS ON THE JOB

The city has hired a civil engineer from Madeira Beach as its new public works director.

Mike Helfrich, 52, began his new job March 27. The Tarpon Springs native is replacing Jim Murphy, who has retired.

Helfrich, who graduated from the University of South Florida with a civil engineering degree, previously operated his own business, Helfrich Engineering in Madeira Beach.

Before that he was general manager at Rocha Controls, an instrumentation and controls company in Tampa and director of operations and maintenance for Pasco County's utilities department.

Helfrich, who will make $90,000, also served in the Navy for six years as a machinist aboard nuclear submarines.

Top priorities will be the city's ongoing bridge maintenance and stormwater projects, he said.

"This is a nice beach community with friendly people and it's close to home," he said.

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