NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In June, Steven Zarecki, head of both the city Engineering Department and Public Works Department, retired after 31 years and 10 months of working for New Brunswick.

Now, less than two months later, the city plans to combine those two departments that have overlapping responsibilities, city officials say.

City council members earlier this month introduced a proposed ordinance to create a Department of Engineering and Public Works. A public hearing on the ordinance is slated for Aug. 15.

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Currently the DPW oversees trash and recycling collection and street sweeping as well as road repairs and repaving, and supervision of the Parks and Shade Tree Division and the city sanitary sewer system, city officials said.

The current engineering department is also involved in these areas, officials said, and also reviews site plans, contract bid specifications, municipal improvement projects, traffic and sign improvements and the preparation of city maps. The department also issues permits for construction, dumpsters, fiber optic installation and street openings.

"Given the complementary nature of the two departments and the shared responsibilities, the merger is intended to provide greater synergy and efficiency," city spokeswoman Jennifer Bradshaw said in a statement today.

Zarecki began working for the city in 1986, starting in the city administrator's office under then Mayor John Lynch.

Four years later he was appointed head of public works. He was later put in charge of the engineering department. When he retired, Zarecki had an annual salary of $132,446.

Currently the engineering department is under supervision of city engineer Richard Moody, and Thomas Valenti is serving as acting public works director, city officials said.