Glenville is expected to have a new deputy supervisor this week, and it should be a familiar face to town residents.
Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said he wants to appoint recently retired Director of Operations Jamie MacFarland to the post. The town board is set to vote on the appointment at an organizational meeting Wednesday. The move would be a departure from the tradition of appointing a board member to the role, Koetzle said, but it is an ideal solution in a year when the town will face a potentially huge personnel turnover.
“I think a lot of Jamie and his many years of service to this town, and I can’t think of a better, more qualified person to be the deputy supervisor,” Koetzle said. “This is a role that he has essentially filled for the last four years and this now allows us to continue to benefit from his many years of experience with the town.”
MacFarland worked for the town for 27 years. He would succeed Alan Boulant, who just finished a term on the town board after an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Schenectady County Legislature. The appointed position has never been a paid one, but it will be — at least for fiscal year 2014 — once the board approves MacFarland for the position.
The board kept open a $19,152 salary line in the 2014 budget in the hopes of keeping MacFarland on in a part-time capacity after his retirement. The idea was that he would help with Koetzle’s transition to a full-time supervisor and handle some responsibilities, like parks and senior services.
Koetzle said appointing MacFarland as deputy supervisor — a position which, as defined by state law, is “serving at the pleasure of the supervisor” — made a lot more sense than creating a new part-time position.
The deputy supervisor presides over Town Board meetings when the supervisor is absent or if that position is vacated. In this role, they have all of the powers and duties of the supervisor, except voting power on the Town Board. Anyone can be appointed to this role, according to state law, including a town officer, official, employee or resident. However, they must possess “the same qualifications as an elective town officer.” The town board is also allowed to fix the compensation, if it decides there should be one, for this position.
“I want to emphasize that future boards are free to do whatever they want regarding this position,” said Koetzle. “They can fund it, they can choose not to fund it. This won’t create a paid position that is forever and always; it’s just how we’ve chosen to organize our administrative staff. Future supervisors and future boards will have their own ideas and opinions and do what they think is appropriate.”
Koetzle said he also wants MacFarland to oversee special projects, like a review of the town’s information technology system. Some of MacFarland’s old responsibilities as director of operations — a position that has now been done away with following last month’s controversial decision to make the town supervisor a full-time position — will be spread among different departments. The comptroller’s office, for example, will oversee day-to-day human resources issues.
“I’m going to ask Jamie to stay engaged in some of the big-picture HR stuff, like union negotiations regarding health insurance,” he said. “So we’re carving duties up and finding where things fit. I think having Jamie in this role so close to the supervisor will be extremely helpful with all the things we’re taking on this year. It’s really a lot on his plate, actually, for just being around 15 to 19 hours a week, but to me, it made sense.”
At its organizational meeting Wednesday, the board will also vote on creation of the Capital Improvement and Strategic Initiatives Committee. Koetzle has recommended Boulant serve as chairman of this committee, which would act in an advisory capacity to the Town Board on planning, construction and any capital improvements to the town’s buildings, grounds and infrastructure.
The Town Board would appoint four members to the committee, in addition to the supervisor’s pick for chairman. Each member would serve a one-year term with no pay. The committee would meet once a month and consult with the town’s commissioner of public works, designated engineer, planner and attorney.
“One thing we want to look at this year is our infrastructure and our capital assets,” Koetzle said. “Our buildings are getting quite old. If you came into my office right now, I’ve had my walls torn out because they found black mold. Every building we have has significant issues. The town garage is in really tough shape. We really haven’t had anyone focused on these issues, so it was my and the board’s intention to look at a comprehensive plan, rather than a piecemeal solution to these problems. This committee will do that.”