Selectmen appoint new Tisbury DPW advisory board

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Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande presented a proposed reorganization of the DPW Monday. – Photo courtesy of town of Tisbury

The Tisbury Department of Public Works (DPW) has a new advisory board. Tisbury selectmen Monday appointed Ian Aitchison, George Balco, Thomas Pachico, Tomor Waldman, and David Willoughby. The men will serve on the board through June 2016.

The appointments followed Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature on a bill that places all DPW duties and responsibilities under the control of the board of selectmen. The governor signed the bill on Oct. 2.

Selectmen moved to assert control from the elected five-member public works commission, established in 1989, following criticism of the DPW for its snow-clearing efforts last winter. At town meeting in April, selectmen approved a warrant article petitioning the state legislators to allow the change. Glenn Mauk, DPW director, resigned in June.

The appointed commission will be an advisory body to the department, which handles refuse and recycling services, municipal building maintenance, highway and sidewalk maintenance, parks and recreation, cemetery maintenance and operations, wastewater operations, and special projects.

Monday, town administrator Jay Grande presented a proposal dividing the public works department into three divisions: parks and recreation, highway, and recycling/solid waste. The divisions would be overseen by a “DPW superintendent,” which would eliminate the former deputy DPW director position. The water and wastewater department would remain under the DPW, but it was proposed that oversight would be by the Water Superintendent.

The Facilities Management Department, responsible for town maintenance of buildings and properties, would be a separate entity under the selectmen, with the direction of a Facilities Manager.

The proposal was made based on four to six months of conversations with people in leadership, management, elected and appointed officials, and personnel within the department, Mr. Grande said.

“I was glad that everyone felt comfortable to participate and supportive of the general change idea,” he said. “I think empowerment of people to do their jobs and problem-solve in the field has been something I’ve heard time and time again.”

He said he wanted a structure that is flexible and not reliant on one individual, the DPW director.

“Whether that position is vacant or full, I want to make sure that the front lines of these functional areas carry forward and do not get interrupted,” Mr. Grande said. “I think this creates some resiliency in the structure of the organization so that it is less reliant on one person.”

He said he wants to move forward with the changes “expeditiously,” but also give time for people to react and give feedback.