Mark Velasquez began his new role as Bellaire’s public works director April 17. City Manager Sharon Citino made the announcement of the new hire at the April City Council meeting.

“I couldn’t be happier to introduce him to the community,” Citino said.

Here are five things to know about Bellaire’s new public works director:

  • Velasquez is a U.S. Navy veteran who served for more than 10 years in combat construction.
  • His earliest experience of infrastructure was in the Navy.
  • His first time as a public works director was with the city of Pearsall, south of San Antonio, then later at the city of Sealy.
  • He is married with three children with one son who serves in the U.S. Air Force.
  • He calls himself a “fitness nut” with the exception of cardio and enjoys golf.

A few of the new public work director’s duties will include overseeing the following city programs:

  • the city’s water systems, including the wastewater and stormwater systems;
  • traffic control; and
  • solid waste and curbside recycling services.

Staffing vacancies were mentioned as a top priority during the city’s State of the City address back in February, where Mayor Andrew Friedberg said nearly all of the departments have operated short-staffed. Citino said at the April 17 meeting that 19 positions are open with vacancy rate of about 10%, which is around the same vacancy rate mentioned in February.

“It’s getting healthier. We’re still going to continue to drive down to an even healthier level,” Citino said.