Mayor Deedee Corradini tapped a woman to take charge of a male-dominated department by naming Catherine N. Hofmann the city's new Public Works director Monday.

Hoffman is assistant director of San Diego's General Services Department, which is comparable with Public Works in Salt Lake City."We're bringing in a very talented person with experience in a larger setting," said Corradini. "We're very fortunate to attract somebody like that."

The mayor said Hofmann's post in San Diego was in a 750-employee department that had a $53 million annual budget. Here she will preside over 250 employees and a $13 million budget.

The appointment fills an eight-month-old vacancy created by Corradini's purge of department heads when she took office in January. Hofmann will report to work by Oct. 26.

Corradini said the appointment ends a search for "the best and the brightest."

Hofmann said the San Diego General Services Department has a broad range of duties from street maintenance to the upkeep of two municipal airports.

She joked that the posts may be similar but that in sunny San Diego winter street maintenance isn't quite the same.

"We didn't move much snow there," she said.

Hofmann is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Simmons College in Boston. Before beginning her San Diego assignment in 1988, she was deputy director of the city's General Services Building Division from 1984-1988 and held administrative posts before that with San Diego's library system.

In her Salt Lake job, she replaces the department's acting director, Tim Harpst, who took over for Joe Anderson, the former director. Thom Dillon, a spokesman for Corradini, said the hiring was not made sooner because of budgetary constraints. He said the city was locked into paying Anderson a severance salary until July 1.

The Parks and Recreation division is the only remaining major department for which Corradini has yet to name a director.