Retired Rear Adm. Paula Brown has been around the world, but is back where she wants to be, and the city of Ashland is the better for it.

Brown has resumed heading the city's Public Works Department after leaving that job to serve in the active Naval Reserve in a variety of roles, including service in the Iraq War in 2006-2007. Trained as civil engineer, she brings a wealth of experience for a town the size of Ashland.

When she returned to Ashland after finishing her Navy career as deputy chief of civil engineering at Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, D.C., she worked as a project manager for the city before Mayor John Stromberg offered her her old job back.

Brown wasted no time in bringing her experience to bear on one of the city's most costly public works priorities: a new water treatment plant. She didn't step in and say, "Let's get this finished," she advocated suspending the working plan and shifting gears.

Instead of moving forward with the existing plan for a 2.5 million gallon-per-day plant and a 2.6 million gallon storage reservoir in addition to the existing treatment plant, Brown proposed suspending that plan and choosing between one new 7.5 MGD plant and upgrading the existing plant to last 20 more years.

Brown says the city can get more for its money by developing one plant than by running two at once.

That's the kind of level-headed leadership that will serve the city well.