LAKE PLACID - The senior operator at this village's wastewater treatment plant will soon take on more responsibility as supervisor of the water filtration plant, too.
Lyle Holzer, chief operator of the village water filtration plant, will retire on Oct. 26. Mayor Craig Randall said Holzer plans to use accrued vacation and leave time before then, so he'll effectively be off the job by Oct. 1.
With Holzer gone, the village has just one employee with the appropriate license to operate the filtration plant: Brad Hathaway, superintendent of the village Department of Public Works.
"After looking at the picture, and this has been a topic that's had numerous discussions in recent months, it appears that the best solution is something that would restore the wastewater treatment plant back into DPW as part of the overall sewer operation," Randall said.
Randall explained that the sewer plant was separated from DPW "to address personality issues." Following Tuesday night's vote, sewer plant Senior Operator Stuart Baird will be responsible for supervision of the sewer plant and water filtration plant, meaning both plants will fall under the scope of DPW.
Randall said this new set-up will benefit the village.
"The alternative would be to go out and look for outside licensed operators, which would take considerable time," Randall said.
Baird has been working to obtain his 2-A water operator license. Randall said he expects Baird to complete that process within the next six months. Obtaining a 1-A license, the same license that Holzer and Hathaway have, could take as long as three years because those classes aren't offered very often, Randall said.
"In the meantime, he will be operating under the 1-A license that currently is possessed by Brad Hathaway," Randall said.
Randall said he hopes the village will soon have a "full complement" of operators at both plants. Village Trustee Zay Curtis said because Hathaway has a senior operator license, Baird will be able to supervise both plants.
The move will also save the village some money on personnel, Randall said. Holzer will work for the village on a per-diem basis to assist with the transition.
The board unanimously approved several resolutions to make the transition official on Tuesday. The first restored the sewer plant to the scope of DPW. The second increased Baird's salary by $10,000, with $5,000 distributed in the next pay period and the rest paid out when he receives his 2-A operator license.
Trustees also voted to appoint Baird as chief operator of the water filtration plant, pending Holzer's retirement, and approved a $10,000 raise for Hathaway.
"I think from everything I'm hearing out in the community, and what we know as a board, Mr. Hathaway has willingly accepted a great deal of responsibility and has been a very effective leader of his team," Randall said.
Randall said big projects, like a new trunk sewer line, mean more work for Hathaway, so he is deserving of the raise.
"There will be significant additional responsibilities placed on Brad to make sure that project comes off successfully," the mayor said. "This is a time when I think we should recognize his abilities."
Holzer has served as chief water plant operator for 12 years.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.