Schenectady County

Schenectady hires engineer, compensates fill-in

The city is finally getting a new engineer, after many months of searching.

The city is finally getting a new engineer, after many months of searching.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said the new engineer, who lives in Schenectady, will start June 11. Until then, Director of Operations William Winkler will serve as engineer.

Winkler got a nearly 50 percent pay hike with that decision, but it will last only seven weeks, McCarthy said, and amount to only about $4,000.

Winkler is a professional engineer and has been using his certification to approve plans that must be reviewed by a licensed engineer. Until now, however, he was not getting additional pay for that work.

But it’s spring now, which means that plans must be approved for many city projects. Also, engineering supervision is critical to ensuring that projects are done correctly.

So Winkler was officially transferred to the engineer’s salary, while he continues to also work as the director of operations. “There’s no additional,” he said. “I’m not being compensated for both.”

As engineer, he gets $95,880 per year, or $12,900 for seven weeks. As director of operations, he got $65,861 a year. He will return to that salary when the new engineer takes over.

The city has had a great deal of difficulty finding an engineer who is willing to work for the salary Schenectady is offering. Two years ago, an engineer nearing retirement was the only one willing to take the job. Paul Casillo retired late last year, and once again the post sat vacant for months.

At one point, McCarthy found an engineer, but the man wouldn’t move to Schenectady. Now, he said, he’s found a Schenectady resident who might stay at the job for years.

“He’s approaching it as a career move,” the mayor said.

He will be paid $95,000. McCarthy will announce his name in early June.

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