By LINDSAY CAREY
At the last Public Works meeting, Town Manager Gary Brumback discussed restructuring the Public Works department in Southington to create a Director of Public Works. The move is a reaction to Highway Superintendent Steve Wlodkowski retiring in the next couple of months.
Brumback shared his recommendation that the highway superintendent position be replaced with a Director of Public Works, who will be responsible for overseeing all of the operations, and redistributing some existing duties to other employees within the department.
“I don’t believe because of the job that Steve has done training his folks that we need to replace the highway superintendent position,” said Brumback.
Brumback will be requesting that the town council authorize a new director of public works on Tuesday, Feb. 10 and will be recommending current Town Engineer Keith Hayden for the job.
If this proposal passes, other employees in the department will be taking on additional responsibilities, so Brumback will suggest adjusting their salaries.
In Brumback’s proposal, the town engineer will be taking over the high level supervision of highway duties, and one of the assistant town engineers will take over the high level supervision of the waste water treatment plant.
Basically, the town engineer will take on more senior level administration and supervision, while the two assistant town engineers are going to be taking on some of the daily operational responsibilities.
“I think that what this contemplates is that the assistant superintendent of parks steps up, the assistant superintendent of highways steps up, the town engineer takes on additional responsibilities, and the assistant town engineers takes on additional responsibilities,” said Brumback. “They have all been working autonomously for the past two and a half three years and they’re going to be basically working together.”
Ultimately, even with increasing their salaries, Brumback said he expects that there are potential savings for the town by restructuring this department.
“I think streamlines the process makes it work out a little better than it currently is, and we believe that the potential savings is somewhere between $40,000 to $50,000 a year with everyone being compensated for the additional work that they’re going to be doing,” said Brumback.
He shared at the Public Works Committee meeting that he is expecting Water Pollution Control Superintendent John DeGioia to retire over the next year, and they will have to hire someone new for that position as well.
“There is the opportunity to re-evaluate when we have a departure,” said Brumback. “We evaluate opportunities to consolidate and hopefully create more efficiency and more accountability.”