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Principal Engineer

Effective: 10/18/05
Range S-87
Respirator Class: 3


Manage the most difficult and institutionally complex programs/ projects and activities of the District; direct programs/ projects requiring extensive intradepartmental, interdepartmental, and intergovernmental cooperation.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Work of this class involves the leadership, direction, and coordination of the most sensitive and complicated programs/ projects and activities, particularly those requiring extensive interface with other governmental agencies and the public. This class is distinguished from the Senior Engineer class by its responsibility for multidisciplinary programs including a variety of operational and engineering project support functions and responsibility for significant administrative and financial functions with District-wide implications. Incumbents of this class must exhibit a high degree of maturity, judgment, and interpersonal skills so as to be able to professionally represent the District in negotiations and other contacts with officials from outside agencies and firms. This class is distinguished from Division Manager in that it does not supervise an entire Division of the District.

Supervision Received and Exercised

  • Receive general supervision from a Division Manager.
  • Exercise direct or indirect supervision over subordinate professional and technical personnel.  Provide direct or indirect supervision of intradepartmental and interdepartmental project groups.

Examples of Essential Duties

Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Manage technically and institutionally complex programs/ projects, providing indirect supervision of personnel in other Engineering Divisions as necessary.
  • Supervise a variety of operations and engineering project support functions, programs and staff simultaneously.
  • Administer significant financial functions with District-wide implications.
  • Represent the District in meetings with local, state, and federal officials.
  • Arrange for the services of consultants and oversee their work.
  • Prepare position papers and present these position papers to the Board of Directors for approval.
  • Take an active part in the establishment of department policies, standards, and procedures.
  • Perform related duties as required.

Minimum Qualifications

Knowledge of:

  • Engineering principles and practices as related and applied to the design, construction, and operation of wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal systems and facilities.
  • Principles and techniques of organization, management, administration, and cost control.
  • Principles of municipal capital financing.
  • Principles and practices of land use planning, subdivision processing, land development, and dedications.
  • Principles and practices of establishing and collecting rates and charges.
  • Principles of land appraising and acquisition of real property and property rights.
  • Principles and practices of program/ project management.
  • General accounting principles and practices as they relate to capital financing and budgeting.
  • Environmental matters related to wastewater conveyance, treatment, and disposal, sewage sludge disposal, receiving water ecology, and environmental impact assessment.

Ability to:

  • On a continuous basis analyze budget trends, identify project alternatives, interpret reports, maps or drawings, know and apply engineering principles and practices, observe employees' work, problem solve disputes, remember history of a project, understand complex issues, and explain presentations to the Board.
  • Sit at a desk and in meetings for long periods of time on a continuous basis, write or use keyboard to communicate through written means, perform simple grasping, pushing and pulling, fine manipulation, and lift or carry weight of 25 pounds or less. May be required to communicate via mobile communication device.
  • Plan, organize, and direct the work of the most technically and institutionally complex programs/ projects and activities.
  • Make articulate and effective presentations to the Board of Directors, public meetings, or other groups, as required.
  • Write letters, memoranda, reports, and position papers using effective English, appropriate style, and logical organization.
  • Conceptualize long‑term planning needs of the District and translate these needs into practical action plans.
  • Effectively participate in the management of litigation as appropriate.
  • Perceive and analyze problems and take effective corrective action.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships in the department, with other departments and divisions of the District, and with persons and organizations dealing with the District.
  • Learn and observe all appropriate safety regulations as required by the District including, but not limited to, Cal/OSHA General Industry Safety Orders, the District’s Respiratory Protection Program, and District Safety Directives.

Experience and Education

Any combination equivalent to experience and education that could likely provide the required knowledge and abilities would be qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:


  • Two years of experience comparable to that of a Senior Engineer in the District.


  • Equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major work in an engineering discipline related to the area of assignment. A master’s degree in engineering or business administration or related field is desirable.

Licenses and Certificates

  • Possession of a Certificate of Registration as a professional engineer issued by the State of California.
  • Possession of a valid California Driver’s License.

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