Margate has created a new position to oversee and coordinate public works and construction projects — although the position as drawn up is not classified under state civil service provisions.

The city hired Roger McLaren as project manager at a yearly salary of $101,000, using money available from Public Works vacancies following retirements and other vacancies.

“He has good credentials, is experienced and is very active in our discussions with FEMA,” Margate Mayor Mike Becker said of McLaren, a certified planner, engineer and floodplain manager. “He will be central in all those areas.”

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City Administrator Richard Deaney wrote in a statement to the Board of Commissioners that “we need more than ever a person to manage the vast public building facilities owned by the city.”

The project manager, Deaney said, will be able to investigate engineering options at the now city-owned Union Avenue School, act as a certified floodplain manager, oversee the issuance of road permits — which currently costs the city $65,000 per year to manage, Deaney said — and perform in-house professional inspections of buildings and bulkheads.

Public Works Commissioner Brenda Taube said Deaney brought the idea to her, “and I wouldn’t have agreed to it if I didn’t think it would save the city money.

The position of “project manager,” however, is not listed as an official civil service position. McLaren is hired under a six-month provisional period — as all new hires are, Deaney said — while the city works with the Civil Service Commission to get the position classified.

“We are working together to resolve civil service issues like we would for any new position,” Deaney wrote. “This may take six months or more as the New Jersey Department of Personnel evaluates with us the responsibilities assigned and job certifications we wish the incumbent to hold. We are under no obligation in these hard economic times to fit a new position into a predetermined mold. We will work professionally with them throughout the process.”

All salaried titles and positions must be approved by the Civil Service Commission, part of the Department of Personnel. The position of project manager is not included on the city's salary ordinance.

Becker added, “We are working out the particulars with Civil Service. ... It may take months. Government doesn’t work real fast, we all know that.”

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