Mayor offers Johnstown Water Board ‘free’ superintendent

Water Board seeking to fill position at $60K annually

Johnstown Mayor Vern Jackson gives a water superintendent proposal to the Johnstown Water Board Monday night at the Water Department. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Water Board on Monday night tinkered with a proposed request for proposal for a new water superintendent drafted by the Fulton County Planning Department.

But the board also heard a proposal from city Mayor Vern Jackson, who said the Deputy City Engineer Joel Wilson can, in effect, serve water superintendent duties at no cost.

The mayor said Wilson, who was in attendance, is “open to filling this position.”

The board met at the Water Department and prominent on the agenda was the longtime, left unfilled water superintendent position. The board wants a person to run department operations basically on a day-to-day basis.

The last time the city of Johnstown had a full-time water superintendent was about 2000, officials have said.

Fulton County Planning Department consultant James Mraz presents a proposed water superintendent request for proposal to the Johnstown Water Board Monday night at the Water Department. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

During the public speaker portion of the meeting, Jackson told the board that current water plant operator, John Denmark, also works daily with the water distribution crew. The mayor said if there’s an issue and he has to take care of it, there is no water plant operator.

“We’re responsible for producing clean, safe and plentiful water,” Jackson said.

Jackson proposed the Water Department be supervised by Wilson.

New Board President Jason Hammer noted the board is considering putting out an RFP for water superintendent.

Jackson noted that Wilson has been meeting with Denmark about the position, which could even be made temporary. He said city taxpayers would be appreciative.

“It would be beneficial to all parties involved,” he said. “It would be free.”

On the agenda was county Planning Department consultant James Mraz, who presented the proposed RFP to the board.

Mraz said he was contacted about developing an RFP for water superintendent and it was done free of charge. He noted he emailed the proposal to board members and City Attorney Michael Poulin, who was in attendance Monday night.

Mraz said the RFP was fairly standard, and noted duties of the superintendent as they relate to unionized workers. He went over the scope of work with the board, with Poulin later joining the conversation to go over proposed language changes in the RFP. No salary has been listed yet, officials said.

The Johnstown Water Board’s most-recent search advertised the superintendent position as paying between $55,000 to $65,000 per year.

Mraz told Poulin he would like to go over any new changes on the RFP introduced Monday night, and get back to the board.

“I’d like to review per your input,” he said.

The board in February chose not to act on another water proposal for “technical assistance” from Ferguson and Foss Professional Land Surveyors of 5 W. Main St. The resolution was tabled. That proposal indicated the consultant would have been paid $95 per hour, in a proposed agreement at an annual cost not to exceed $98,800 for technical assistance, except possibly more in emergencies. The proposed agreement indicated the consultant would provide services three to five days per week for the East Main Street department, with the proposal anticipating 20 hours of service per week.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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