Wanted: Person to take charge of plowing, paving, parks and drainage for Erie County’s largest suburb. Good pay, but job is guaranteed for only 15 months.
That’s the situation in Amherst, where town officials are on the hunt for candidates to replace Highway Superintendent Robert Anderson. who announced last week that he will retire effective Sept. 27.
“I am seeking letters of interest and résumés,” Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein said. “My plan is to give them to the personnel office, let them sift through them and see what we get. I’ve gotten two so far.”
Highway superintendent is an elected position, but it will be up to the Amherst Town Board to appoint a successor to fill the remaining 15 months on Anderson’s term, until voters can cast their ballots in November 2015.
Anderson, a three-term highway superintendent whose career with the department spans more than 35 years, cited “recent health concerns” for submitting his letter of resignation but did not want to elaborate when questioned by The Buffalo News.
Anderson, however, said he would like to consult with the Town Board to help set some criteria for picking a successor, who will lead 170 department employees and oversee a variety of critical duties for a town of 122,000 people, including snowplowing, paving, drainage, lighting, parks, refuse and recycling.
“They have to really be able to think on their feet. There are so many things happening in one day’s time,” Anderson said. “This is not a job for the faint of heart.”
Candidates, Weinstein said, may also want to possess a little political savvy if they decide to run for a full four-term in 2015.
The job pays nearly $97,000 a year, which includes a base pay of $73,920; a $2,500 stipend for handling signs, signals and drainage; $7,500 to run the parks; and a $13,073 stipend for being in charge of refuse control, said Robert P. McCarthy, the town’s personnel director.
But the 15-month appointment and the prospects of running for office may discourage some qualified candidates, unless they are in between jobs or nearing retirement, Weinstein said.
There are certainly qualified candidates within the department, Anderson said, but the two-year term limit imposed by the town in 2006 is a deterrent.
When the Town Board makes an appointment will largely depend on the quality of the candidates, Weinstein said.
“If we don’t find anyone we’ll likely do a stopgap measure,” he said.
Letters of interest and résumés may be addressed to the supervisor or Town Board members at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221.