Retired highway superintendent says much more to job than operating equipment

Posted 28 October 2020 at 3:25 pm


The time has come to elect a new Highway Superintendent for the Town of Murray. Having held this position for the past 30 years, I have first-hand knowledge of the most important qualifications a candidate needs to get this job done properly and keep things running smoothly.

Things have changed a lot from when I started over 30 years ago. Highway Superintendent is now mainly an administrative position. The majority of my time was spent in the office planning, organizing, directing and finding the most efficient, economical ways to get things done.

There are budgets to put together, spending to keep track of, reports and paperwork to complete, vehicles and equipment to keep in working order. You must approve all expenditures, including payroll and accounts payables. You supervise the direction of highway operations.

The Superintendent must be able to exercise leadership and judgment. He must be available day or night to handle emergencies that arise. He works under the administrative direction of New York State Law, “Powers and Duties of the Highway Superintendents”, he “DOES NOT” work for the town board or the supervisor, but works and is accountable to “YOU,”  the residents of the Town of Murray!

He independently makes decisions regarding procedures, operations and department plans and is responsible for department results.

Leadership abilities and communication skills are essential/critical to having a well-run and effective highway department. The ability to operate equipment is a handy skill, but it is certainly not the most important skill for your highway superintendent. Without the trust and respect of your employees, you have chaos and dysfunction.

The person you vote for must have great people skills because you work directly for and with the public, the employees, other towns, boards, government agencies, vendors and contractors. It is a huge part of this job.

Winter for the superintendent is filled with patrolling the roads and managing your employees on their plow routes to keep the roads clear and safe.

Summer duties include mowing roadsides and cemeteries, trimming trees, cleaning ditches and working very closely with the county and other town highway department under our shared service agreement.

This election is for Highway Superintendent. However, water usually goes along with it. Neither candidate has a water operator’s license, but fortunately, the Town of Murray has Dennis Mandigo heading up the water department. With his 20 years of experience working on Murray’s water lines, he is second to none and can handle any repair.

The Town of Murray employees are a very dedicated, loyal and hard working group of employees with no job that they can’t handle with professionalism. These are the guys that the Highway Superintendent leads and directs to get the job done. These are the guys with the operational skills and experience to continue to maintain the high level of service that you, the residents, have come to expect and deserve.

When you go to the polls on November 3rd, choose the leader that will continue to lead this great group of employees.

Ed Morgan

Retired Murray Highway Superintendent