GLOVERSVILLE - The Common Council will vote at tonight's work session whether to approve Mayor Dayton King's appointment of retired Marine Corps Sgt. Heath Hardman to the city's Department of Public Works director position.
Hardman, 30, served in the Marine Corps for 11 years and served two combat tours each in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Originally from Pensacola, Fla., Hardman has lived in Gloversville about two years and recently graduated from the State University of New York Empire State College with a degree in philosophy.
An outdoorsman, Hardman said he was attracted to the area by the proximity to the Adirondacks and affordable cost of living.
He lives on Fifth Avenue and has four children in elementary and middle school.
"After I finished my bachelor's degree, I was looking to transition into civilian life. When I saw this job come up in The Leader-Herald, to me it sounded like a great opportunity," Hardman said.
Hardman said he understands the DPW's challenges, which include staff reductions, aging equipment and limited finances, and while he doesn't have a lot of direct experience, he'll bring the department organizational and leadership skills.
"What I liked about Heath was that he does have the leadership and management skills," King said. "To be able to hire a veteran who has served four tours, we know he can take a lot of pressure and the job comes with a lot of scrutiny."
King said he will address the council at tonight's meeting about hiring former DPW chief Bob Abel, who retired in December, as a consultant to help with the transition
King said $61,000 is budgeted for the position. Hardman would be hired at the base salary of $55,000, leaving financial room to pay for a consultant.
The appointment is a one-year appointment, King said. It would expire at the end of the year,
Councilman-at-Large James Robinson said he'd rather not comment on the appointment this morning.
Hardman said he will value the input of the many experienced members of the department, like foreman Doug Morrison, and looks forward to an opportunity to serve and engage the community.
Anticipating his appointment, Hardman has already started working. A new Facebook page, "City of Gloversville Department of Public Works" already has posts asking residents to identify such problems as pot holes, street signs or traffic lights in need of repair.
"Knowing about the problem is the first step," Hardman said.
The meeting agenda also includes speaker Mike LaBello from the state Department of Transportation. LaBello will answer official's questions regarding the Gloversville Transit System and the city's financial obligations regarding the building and buses.
City Attorney Anthony Casale is expected to provide an update on the First Baptist Church demolition and other items.
The Common Council will review several resolutions authorizing increases in fees, according to the agenda.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in City Hall and is open to the public.
Amanda Whistle covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.