It started with monotony. Now, engineer is Glenville DPW head

Craig Dallaird

Craig Dallaird

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 handled by the elected highway superintendent. He submitted his application on the day of the listing. 

The then-senior state Department of Environmental Conservation engineer was appointed by the Glenville Town Board within weeks. 

“I was bored at the state, to put it simply,” D’Allaird said. “I did not want to sit behind a desk all day and do AutoCAD [software] drafting work. I wanted to be busier.” 

Tom Coppola handled the duties of D’Allaird’s current role since the Republican was first elected as highway superintendent in 2009. The recent retirement of engineering technician and DPW subleader Dana Gilgore prompted town administration to split up Coppola’s position — a move mulled by officials over the last three years as Glenville’s prospective project load grew.

“My feeling is, and I don’t think anybody’s argued this: those are two full-time jobs, two 40-hour-a-week jobs,” said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said. “And for one person to do that, that was asking a lot.” 

For Koetzle, D’Allaird’s credentials were a major perk. He’s the first licensed engineer to serve in Glenville town government, according to the GOP supervisor. 

In addition to his work at DEC, D’Allaird, previously worked for the Chazen Companies, a local development firm, and as academic department chair at Hudson Valley Community College. He’s also been subcontracted for geotechnical structural engineering services throughout the private sector.

The 14-staffed DPW covers all water, sewer and park work, along with additional maintenance tasks. Coppola will continue to run the 24-employee Highway Department, which provides road maintenance, leaf removal and snow plowing services townwide. 

“The thought of one person managing all of that is a bit overwhelming,” said D’Allaird.

Having both roles became “one job” after a decade-plus experience of management, Coppola noted. Not having to respond to water main breaks and parks work has freed up a chunk of his time. 

The elected official was previously paid for his DPW work per stipend, according to Koetzle. 

Gilgore agreed to stay on for a few months in a part-time capacity to help out the new commissioner as he gets adjusted to town-specific matters.

“I mean, it’s come with some growing pains, but it is what it is,” Coppola said. 

“Most places, you’re not fortunate enough to have that happen,” D’Allaird said. “So it really is great that [Dana] chose to stay on and help with the transition.”

D’Allaird’s department will oversee the town’s upcoming $22 million sewer treatment plant infrastructure upgrades. He’s currently combing through proposals for a renovated or rebuilt town hall and police station. 

“Those projects are going to be 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 smaller tasks: flushing hydrants for the winter; addressing water main breaks; installing a digital sign at the current town hall; installing water and l and electrical infrastructure at Indian Meadows Park; preparing to upgrade Scotia-Glenville Softball League’s home field at Maalwyck Park.

“We’ve been growing one of those divisions, the parks division, over the past couple of years,” Koetzle said. “We’ve been adding positions in to deal with our growing park system and so again, that was just another demand that was put on one person being sucked up into one job when really it’s evident that it’s becoming two jobs.”

Sidewalk projects up ahead include state Route 50, Freeman’s Bridge Road and Swaggertown Road near Anderson Dog Park, as well as Schenectady County-coordinated improvements in the Alplaus hamlet.

D’Allaird is a five-year resident of the county. Up 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. Doing work closer to home was another incentive for D’Allaird to ditch his statewide parks role.

“I live in the town, so the idea of working for the town was very appealing,” he said. “It’s always nice to have a vested interest in what you’re doing.”

D’Allaird also said that the DEC position didn’t provide much room for management opportunities or professional mobility, given the limited availability of civil service exams.

The new commissioner will make a $107,000 yearly salary. 

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Tyler McNeil 

Categories: Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville

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