Monroe DPW chief's retirement will bring changes to how the job is done

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:27

    MONROE - Roy Montanye’s retirement as highway chief is still a hot topic - from a slate of candidates to fill the job in the November election to an outcry from some to fill the post now even though the town board has appointed a temporary superintendent. Two candidates are vying for the Republican nod, which is forcing a primary run-off in September. Frank Beams, a retired town highway employee, is up against James Gulick, who is also being endorsed by the town Democratic Committee. The Conservative party has endorsed Chuck Mancuso, a production coordinator. The winner will serve out the two-year term left on Montanye’s four-year term. Montanye, who has a history of heart problems, retired in March for health reasons. His departure after 32 years of service - including 22 as highway superintendent - left the Monroe Town Board scrambling for a replacement. With reservations by some board members, the highway department’s administrative clerk Bob Picinotti was appointed to take on Montanye’s highway duties, which include the supervision of 14 employees, dog control officer and handling water district matters. Ward Brower, a regular speaker during the public segment of the town board meetings, has advocated for the temporary appointment of a highway superintendent, claiming one person cannot do all these jobs. “This,” he said, “leads to overload and burn-out. Never has the town let the highway department go headless.” Board member Harley Doles said it was a matter of saving money - $90,000 per year. But Brower contended the town is not saving money if the work is not being done properly. He prefaced his remarks regarding the temporary chief’s performance saying, “He is doing a great job. My comments,” he added, “are no reflection on Bob.” If his appointment was a long-term commitment, Picinotti said, he would share those concerns. But knowing it was temporary and only for ten months, he said he was fine with the arrangement. Things will be different when the new highway superintendent is sworn in, according to councilman Gerard McQuade Jr. He said he is agreement with the complaints over one person doing so many jobs. “It has caused controversy and hard feelings.” In the future, he said, he would like to see the jobs divided up. Another change brought up by councilman James Rogers that the candidate who wins in November be appointed to the position immediately, thereby giving the new chief a heads up on the workings of the department was met with approval and will be discussed further by the board.