EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 17, 2013

Proposed new department head job draws ire

ANDOVER — The town manager plans to merge the town’s busiest two departments this July, but the hiring of a department head to oversee the town’s merged maintenance operations is catching some flak from town boards.

As part of his fiscal 2014 budget, Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski plans to combine the Department of Public Works with the Plant and Facilities department, creating a single “Municipal Services” department in the process.

The merger will formally begin with the hiring of a director of both departments with a budgeted salary of $139,232 in its first year.

“I’ve been working on this budget for a while,” Stapczynski said, while presenting the plan to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee last week. “We have two good, functioning departments, but I think that what we have is an opportunity to take them to the next level.”

As it stands, the departments both play a key role in maintaining the town’s buildings, roads and more.

The Department of Public Works is responsible for town engineering, road work and maintenance, and its water and sewer operations.

The Plant and Facilities department presides over building maintenance, mechanical and electrical work, vehicle maintenance for all town departments, and maintenance for the town’s parks, Spring Grove Cemetery and forestry work.

The separate departments each have a vacant director position that have been left open in anticipation of this merger, according to Stapczynski.

They’re occupied today by two town employees on an acting basis: Chris Cronin, highway superintendent, is acting director of the DPW, and Maria Maggio, Plant and Facilities business manager, serves as acting head of her department.

Their positions are budgeted for next year at $102,677 and $82,769 respectively, according to Stapczynski’s proposed budget. With the hiring of a director, the two acting directors will be appointed as assistants and “continue to perform the primary duties and functions of their respective permanent positions.”

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