Mattapoisett Selectmen talk future of Highway Department

Feb 16, 2021

MATTAPOISETT — Barry Denham is leaving two vacancies behind this year, as he steps back from his position as Highway Surveyor and Veterans Agent.

The Selectmen thanked him for his time with the town and discussed how to handle the surveyor position moving forward at a Feb. 16 meeting.

“I don’t think there’s a day I can say you haven’t given it your all,” Selectman Jordan Collyer said.

Denham suggested that once he’s no longer surveyor, the town do some restructuring of the positions in the Highway Department, including the expansion of existing positions to serve more roles and the addition of a foreman.

The selectmen agreed that until the new surveyor is in place and settled, the positions won’t be altered.

In addition, Denham briefed the board on a preliminary budget, amounting to $765,250 — an increase of $2,013 over Fiscal Year 21.

“I don’t believe there’s a large increase in the full-time labor because we’ve taken on a few people to replace some higher-paid older people who retired,” Denham said.

Discussion of position changes and highway budgets led to Collyer suggesting the town might benefit from hiring a full time highway engineer, who would assist many of the town’s departments with future projects.

Collyer said the town is “paying through the nose” to have its engineering work done, and that a standalone position could allow the town to do the work on its own terms.

“It’s more of a resource so that the departments can leverage the education, the training of that person,” Collyer said.

Collyer added that a decision on any new position won’t likely be made soon, but that it’s something worth considering as the town continues to take on projects.

“At this point it’s a cost-benefit analysis thing,” Selectman John DeCosta said.