Saratoga County

Saratoga County public works nominee selected

For Keith Manz, becoming the county public works commissioner has been a “lifetime aspiration.”

For Keith Manz, becoming the county public works commissioner has been a “lifetime aspiration.”

His father, Robert, was county highway commissioner, as the job was then known, for about a decade in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and young Keith watched everything his dad did.

“Whenever it snowed and he went out [plowing], that interested me,” Manz said. “And equipment always interested me.”

Manz will follow in his father’s footsteps later this month, when he is expected to be named the county’s new public works commissioner.

The county Personnel Committee on Monday recommended Manz, currently Wilton’s director of planning and engineering, to replace Joseph C. Ritchey, who retired from the county in May after 29 years on the job.

“I have mixed emotions. To me, it’s a big loss to the town of Wilton, but it’s a big gain for the county,” said Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson, who is chairman of the county Personnel Committee.

The Board of Supervisors will vote on the appointment later this month, and Manz is expected to be on the job starting Aug. 31 with a salary of $107,453 annually.

As public works commissioner, Manz will lead a department that has more than 200 employees, with responsibilities that include overseeing and maintaining 360 miles of county roads and all the county’s buildings and grounds, as well as running the county recycling program.

“I expect to be using eyes and ears more than my mouth the first few months,” he said. “Hopefully now I can do some good things for the county.”

Johnson said Manz was selected from among a pool of candidates that included state Department of Transportation engineers. Eleven people were interviewed, and there were three finalists.

Manz, 54, of Wilton, is a professional engineer who has been Wilton’s staff engineer for 20 years. He said that work has included providing technical advice to the town Highway Department on road construction and equipment purchases, as well as overseeing development activity in what has been one of Saratoga County’s fastest-growing towns.

Manz is a graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and Cornell University, where he studied civil engineering. He worked for local engineering firms C.T. Male Associates and Clough Harbour & Associates as a project manager and associate engineer before joining the town of Wilton full-time in 1992.

But Manz said he’s been thinking about moving on to the county public works job for several years as a logical next career step.

“You could call it kind of a lifetime aspiration,” he said.

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