The city of Chehalis appointed former street and stormwater superintendent Rick Sahlin as the new public works director this week after former director Herta Fairbanks resigned in October.

Sahlin was initially named interim public works director while the city searched to replace Fairbanks.

City Manager Merlin MacReynold said the city had five candidates, but decided to stick with Sahlin and make him the permanent director.

MacReynold cited Sahlin’s local experience and knowledge of the Public Works Department as reasons for appointing him this week. Sahlin has worked for the city for more than 30 years, starting in the waste water division and moving into street and stormwater work.

“He knows the public works department,” MacReynold said. “He has a good working relationship with the community and is very knowledgeable with the city.”

Sahlin said he has served as interim public works director twice and looks forward to taking over the department. He said his past experience will help him with his new position.

“I’ve been in all aspects of all public works with the city in one way or the other,” Sahlin said.

Fairbanks, public works director for the past two and a half years, submitted a brief letter of resignation in October that did not explain why she stepped down.

“I hereby submit my letter of resignation for the position of Public Works Director for the City of Chehalis, effective today, October 11, 2013,” Fairbanks wrote in the one-sentence letter.

Prior to becoming the public works director in March 2011, Fairbanks worked in utility operations with Lewis and Thurston County PUDs, and served as the operations and finance manager with an Onalaska water company and for the Utilities and Transportation Commission.