By Dustin Luca
---- — ANDOVER — Acting Department of Public Works Director Chris Cronin has been chosen to lead the town’s new Municipal Services Department, overseeing operation and maintenance of schools, town buildings, roads, parks, grounds and much more.
Cronin was appointed by Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski to take the newly created position effective Jan. 28.
The appointment was presented to the Board of Selectmen at its meeting Monday. A confirmation vote by the board is expected at its next regular meeting Jan. 27.
Cronin, who started working for the town in 1988 as a junior engineer, was one of 33 prospective candidates who applied for the position, Stapczynski said.
Cronin said he anticipated “a minor reorganization to take advantage of efficiencies” in the merging of departments, adding that there would be “no layoffs” through that reorganization.
Stapczynski, who became town manager in 1990, three years after Cronin was hired, said the department head didn’t appear on his radar until 2003 with his promotion to his current permanent position as highway superintendent.
“I didn’t get to know him until (former DPW director) Bob McQuade brought him forward as the highway superintendent,” Stapczynski said. “In 2003, I appointed him to superintendent and that’s when I really got to know him. I didn’t know much about him and he rose to the challenge.”
Selectmen Monday night praised Cronin’s work the last two years as acting public works director as well as the process that led to his hiring.
“This was a very thorough process,” Selectman Mary Lyman said. “You went around the world and back again.”
Selectman Brian Major said the choice was a good one.
“Chris is outstanding,” he said, praising Cronin for being “knowledgeable, extremely trustworthy and a straight-shooter.”
Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli praised Cronin for his focus on customer service.
“We serve the residents, who have high expectations of quality service,” Vispoli said.
If confirmed, Cronin will take over a department that was created last year with the merger of Plant and Facilities with the Department of Public Works.
The move to unite the departments began in 2010 with the retirements of DPW Director Jack Petkus and Plant and Facilities Director Joe Piantedosi.
The new director’s position was budgeted at $119,232 last year. According to TownofAndover.com, Cronin made $122,795 last year as acting director.
Staff writer Bill Kirk contributed to this report.