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City of Torrance
Class Code: 3131

Class Designation: Civil Service

September 1998

Representation Unit: Engineers Association &
Torrance Fiscal Employees Assoc.


Assistant Engineer


Under direction, performs professional level engineering work in the development, construction and maintenance of the City's public works and traffic projects; and performs related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Assistant Engineer is the entry/journey class in the professional level engineering series. Incumbents are distinguished from the Associate Engineer in that the Assistant does not supervise staff and does not have responsibility for managing entire engineering projects and distinguished from technical engineering staff in the level and scope of responsibility exercised and expertise required. Assignments are generally limited in scope and are set within procedural frameworks established by higher level positions. As experience accrues, the incumbent performs with increasing independence. Work requires incumbent to exercise some judgment in selecting appropriate established guidelines to follow; significant deviations require prior approval. Interpretation of general administrative or operational policies is necessary. Work is reviewed upon completion for overall results.

Supervision Exercised/Received:

Receives direction from assigned Associate Engineer or Division Manager and may provide functional supervision to lower-level employees, but this task is ancillary to the primary focus of the classification

Examples of Essential Duties

The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive
  • Designs and develops engineering plans, drawings and specifications, cost estimates, contract provisions, legal descriptions, and maps, ensuring compliance with subdivision policies and local and state codes, ordinances and regulations.
  • Maintains accurate and up-to-date project files.
  • Prepares general correspondence, reports, newsletters, etc. as required.
  • Investigates public complaints and problems and takes appropriate action to resolve complaints and problems.
  • Prepares and presents reports and agenda items to the City Council, and City Commissions.
  • Coordinates projects with other City departments, agencies and utilities as required.
  • Assigns, reviews and coordinates the work of subordinate technical engineering personnel; assists in training lower-level employees.
  • Keeps abreast of current engineering principles and practices, technology, regulations and literature that apply to City engineering projects.

    In addition to the above, if assigned to Public Works, performs the following:

  • Prepares reports and requests for proposals for design and construction of public works projects.
  • Conducts studies and prepares plans for public works projects.
  • May develop procedures for the use of engineering computer applications.
  • May provide staff training and technical support in the use of engineering computer applications; acts as liaison to other departments for the electronic permitting system.

    In addition to the above, if assigned to Traffic Engineering, performs the following:

  • Conducts traffic studies and analysis of data related to traffic movement and safety.
  • Performs traffic accident analysis related to engineering aspects.
  • Prepares plans, estimates and specifications for traffic signal installation, street lighting facilities, intersection channelization, traffic signing and pavement markings, parking facilities and other traffic and transportation projects.
  • Reviews plans for roadway construction and off-street development projects for impact on traffic flow and control.
  • Prepares reports and requests for proposals for design and construction of traffic engineering projects.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:
  • Receives and responds to public inquiries regarding current or planned projects.
  • Attends division and department meetings as required.
  • Assists customers at the permit counter as needed.
  • Performs related duties as required.
  • Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of
  • Engineering computer applications currently in use by the City.
  • Computer-aided design and drafting principles and techniques.
  • Civil Engineering principles and practices as applied to the field of public works.
  • Principles and practices of traffic engineering field and office work.
  • Principles of design for physical facilities for controlling traffic movement.
  • Mathematics as applied to engineering work, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus.
  • Statistics as applied to traffic engineering data, including compilation, analysis and presentation.
  • City codes and ordinances, and administrative rules and regulations affecting departmental operations.
  • General City operations.
  • Ability to
  • Perform professional design, drafting and mapping with skill, both manually and using GIS/CAD and other automation systems as appropriate.
  • Prepare working plans and drawings for traffic signal channelization and striping, street lighting and other traffic installations.
  • Compile, analyze and apply engineering data.
  • Operate office and other equipment including a computer, scientific calculator, fax machine, blueprint machine, copier, computer tools and drafting instruments, etc.
  • Understand and carry out oral and written directions.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  • Exercise tact and diplomacy relative to public inquiries and requests for information.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with co-workers, other City employees, individuals from outside agencies and the public.
  • Read and understand technical reports, maps, drawings, specifications, etc.
  • License or Certificate

    Must possess and maintain an appropriate, valid California State driver's license.
    A valid certificate of registration issued by the California State Board of Registration for Civil and Professional Engineers is desirable.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that would have provided the required knowledge and skills is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and skills would be:
    Graduation from a college or university with a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering and one to two years of professional engineering office experience; or possession of a valid Engineer-in-Training certificate and four years of responsible engineering experience.
    (Experience or training in CAD applications for computers is desired.)

    Special Requirements

    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the following physical demands and/or working conditions:
    Requires the ability to exert a small amount of physical effort in sedentary to light work involving moving from one area of the office to another; requires sufficient hand/eye coordination to perform semi-skilled repetitive movements, such as drafting and the use of calculators. Tasks require color and visual perception and discrimination, as well as oral communications ability. Tasks are regularly performed without exposure to adverse environmental conditions.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in this classification may serve to meet the minimum requirements for promotion to Associate Engineer.