ADAMS, Mass. — The town hopes to get a job posting out for a Department of Public Works director as soon as possible.
The position has been vacant since the retirement of David Nuvallie in March 2018.
The personnel subcommittee of the Board of Selectmen is recommending a job description to a full meeting of the board on Wednesday. Once approved, the conversation can turn to advertising.
Town Administrator Jay Green told the subcommittee on Tuesday that the description hasn't changed much — but the expectations have.
"I think in the past, we've been used to having a road boss for DPW director, that is someone that actually goes out and gives assignments to crews," he said. "This job is structured differently ... I envisioned it is far more an administrative person, mostly also to help out with, as we've talked about, with the goals of the board about road projects and forecasting."
The minimum qualifications would require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field — civil engineer, public administration, engineering or management — and five years of progressive responsibility in public works, operations, construction, facility management or a combination of experience and education.
"Also included in this is a little bit more attention on facility management," Green said. "We're getting someone to pay attention to buildings, etc. This job will commence that."
The director, per town charter, would work under the policy direction of the Selectmen and administrative direction of the town administrator.
Green thought it might be prudent to "cast a little wider net" for the DPW director while the other posts under consideration could be filled locally.
"We're not the only community looking," said subcommittee member and Selectmen Chairwoman Christine Hoyt. "It's timely and we have to get it done."
Both Pittsfield and Cheshire are also in the market for DPW directors. Green thought Adams would be attractive for its size and the projects it's undertaking.
"I think it's a great opportunity for somebody. We have some some great projects," he said. "It'll be interesting to see what we get for interest."
Selectman John Duval, also a subcommittee member, asked if the board would be prepared to vote on Wednesday. Hoyt said the job descriptions being reviewed by the committee were already in the board's packet.
The DPW post had been left empty largely because the town didn't have a town administrator for a year until Green was hired this past February. The administrative duties of the director had been taken on by Community Development Director Donna Cesan, as acting town administrator, and more recently split between her and Green.
The subcommittee also recommended job descriptions for special police officer and two new positions: animal control/parking attendant and custodian/transfer station attendant.
The ACO, currently a part-time post, would be combined with parking to create a full-time, 35-hour position. The salary and benefits would be split between the animal control budget and the parking budget. The employee would also work with the DPW to take care of the maintenance of the meters, but that would still be under the direction of the police chief.
Green said he and Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr. had had conversations about the post and determined that it had to have a flexible schedule.
"It would be incumbent of the job for working Saturdays here, working on Sunday there, in the afternoons here, wherever the needs of the job," Green said.
"There's the understanding, too, that the position, as you go forward, may have to be amended to suit the needs," Tarsa said.
The special officer job description was a modification that more clearly differentiated that post from reserve officer. Special officers are subject to one-year appointments, work per diem and can do desk duty, special events and road details; they can only carry firearms with the chief's authorization.
"As the chief explained to me, he wanted to be sure that we had people who had already recurrent criminal justice training," said Green. "So for example, we think we might have somebody interested in who is due to retire soon from another department ... . This is not a position we will fill with someone who wants a full-time position."
Tarsa said there has been a special officer for a couple years now. "It's just that we needed to have more language tailored to what our needs are and our purpose," he said.
For example, there will be new officers going to the police academy beginning in September, reducing the force; a special officer would be able to do desk duty thereby freeing an officer for patrol.
"The only time this is going to come out of budget is if the individual works a desk shift," Tarsa said. "Other than that, working details or security events ... they're assigned to this outside vendor and it doesn't affect the budget."
The final position, a custodian/transfer station attendant, has been under discussion for some time.
"The general concept of this job is to attend to our transfer station all days of operation and when not at the transfer station, to help our building custodian Kyle out with general maintenance details," Green said.
The post would be Tuesdays through Saturday, with more flexible hours during the summer to staff the transfer station until 7 p.m.
"This is going to be posted as temporary one year to see if the concept works," Green said and, while full time at 35 hours, would not come with benefits because of its temporary status. "If it works, the budgetary impact is adding the cost of the added benefits in order to recruit the person.
"If it doesn't work, you go back to the drawing board."
The Board of Selectmen will be voting on approvals for all four job descriptions on Wednesday night, along with a list of facility use requests and a one-day liquor license for DeMarsico's Wine Cellar for the Sept. 7 "Nashville in the Berkshires" event at Bowe Field.
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