GLENVILLE — Craig D’Allaird was bored.
So in early October, the 48-year-old applied to become Glenville’s first public works commissioner in decades, a role long held by the elected superintendent of highways. He applied on registration day.
The then-senior engineer from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation was appointed by the Glenville City Council within weeks.
“I was bored in the state, to put it simply,” D’Allaird said. “I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day and do AutoCAD [software] editorial work. I wanted to be busier.
Tom Coppola has handled the duties of D’Allaird’s current role since the Republican was first elected as superintendent of highways in 2009. The recent retirement of the engineering technician and deputy chief of the DPW’s Dana Gilgore urged the city administration to split Coppola’s position — a decision considered by officials over the past three years as Glenville’s load of potential projects grew.
“My feeling is, and I don’t think anyone has disputed that: it’s two full-time jobs, two 40-hour jobs a week,” said city supervisor Chris Koetzle. “And for one person, that was asking a lot.”
For Koetzle, D’Allaird’s credentials were a major advantage. He is the first licensed engineer to serve in Glenville city government, according to the GOP supervisor.
In addition to his work at DEC, D’Allaird previously worked for Chazen Societies, a local development company, and as head of the academic department at Hudson Valley Community College. He has also been a sub-contractor for geotechnical structural engineering services in the private sector.
The DPW, made up of 14 employees, covers all water, sewer and park work, as well as additional maintenance duties. Coppola will continue to lead the 24-employee highway department, which provides road maintenance, leaf clearing and snow removal services throughout the city.
“The idea of just one person running it all is kind of overwhelming,” D’Allaird said.
Having both roles has become “one job” after more than a decade of management experience, Coppola noted. Not having to intervene in the event of water main breaks and work in the parks allowed him to free up a good part of his time.
The chosen one was previously paid for his DPW work by stipend, according to Koetzle.
Gilgore has agreed to stay on for a few months on a part-time basis to help the new commissioner as he adjusts to city-specific issues.
“I mean, it came with growing pains, but that’s what it is,” Coppola said.
“Most places, you’re not lucky enough for that to happen,” D’Allaird said. “So it’s really good that [Dana] chose to stay and help with the transition.
D’Allaird’s department will oversee upcoming infrastructure upgrades to the city’s $22 million sewage treatment plant. It is currently reviewing proposals for a renovated or rebuilt town hall and police station.
“These projects are going to require a lot of man-hours and a lot of coordination on our part,” D’Allaird said.
Currently, the department is working on a number of small tasks: emptying standpipes for the winter; repair water main breaks; installation of a digital sign at the current town hall; installing water, water and electrical infrastructure at Indian Meadows Park; preparing to upgrade the Scotia-Glenville Softball League field at Maalwyck Park.
“We’ve grown one of those divisions, the parks division, over the past two years,” Koetzle said. “We have added positions to accommodate the growth of our parks system and again this was just another demand that has been placed on a person being sucked into a job when it is really evident that it becomes two jobs.”
Upcoming sidewalk projects include State Route 50, Freeman’s Bridge Road and Swaggertown Road near Anderson Dog Park, as well as improvements coordinated by Schenectady County in the Hamlet of Alplaus.
D’Allaird is a five-year resident of the county. Until 2017, the civil engineer had lived in Clifton Park and Halfmoon.
He spent much of his childhood with his aunt and uncle in Glenville. Working closer to home was another incentive for D’Allaird to drop his role in statewide parks.
“I live in the city, so the idea of working for the city was very appealing,” he said. “It’s always nice to have a vested interest in what you do.”
D’Allaird also said the DEC position doesn’t leave much room for management or career mobility opportunities, given the limited availability of civil service exams.
The new Commissioner will receive an annual salary of $107,000.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Tyler McNeil
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Categories: Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville