San Diego gets a new “Navy mayor” at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

At that time, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patrick J. Lorge will relieve the current Navy mayor, Rear Adm. Dixon R. Smith, in ceremonies at the USS Midway Museum.

“Navy mayor” is the informal title for commander of Naval Region Southwest, a collection of 11 Navy shore bases. Most are in California, though the region is responsible for Navy facilities in a six-state area.

“The base (commanding officers) work for him,” said a spokesman on Smith’s staff. The office takes care of matters such as infrastructure, maintenance and security, freeing up the rest of the forces to concentrate on their jobs as war-fighters. Because of its role, the Navy mayor’s office has a say in contracts that Navy procurement agencies award to private businesses.

Lorge comes to San Diego after serving as commandant for Naval District Washington in the nation’s capital. He is a New Jersey native, a 1981 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a pilot.

Smith, who has led Navy Region Southwest since December 2011, will take command of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic later this month.

— SDBJ Staff Report