Trumbull may become Johnstown water department superintendent

Johnstown water board considering former Gloversville DPW head for vacant position

JOHNSTOWN –The city Water Board on Monday night tabled the hiring of former Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull as Johnstown’s new water superintendent.

The board’s agenda — made public this week — had a line to consider a “resolution” to hire Trumbull as superintendent.

But Water Department Clerk Barbara Koehler said today the water board tabled possible action on the personnel matter until next month. She said it never got to the point of an actual resolution before the board.

The board met Monday night at the Water Department.

Board President John Swierzowski said this morning some “tweaking” of the “duty statement” under Civil Service rules is in order.

“We’re in the process of hiring a superintendent,” he said. “Dale is one of our top candidates.”

Swierzowski said the board is “still going over some issues,” referring to a need for Johnstown city government officials to “play ball” in the future. He said he anticipates an “emergency meeting” in the near future to hire a superintendent.

Mayor Vern Jackson said today it is his understanding the position of water superintendent in Johnstown is “in review.” He said the water board still needs to spell out the requirements of the job, per Civil Service regulations.

Asked this morning if he thinks the Water Department needs to hire a water superintendent, he responded “no.”

“I don’t think they should,” the mayor said. “I think we could do that work inhouse.”

Trumbull resigned his position as director of the Gloversville DPW in January, effective last Friday. That city has begun looking for his replacement.

He was first appointed Gloversville DPW director in January 2016. He received annual reappointments each subsequent year until the Gloversville Common Council’s organizational meeting on Jan. 1 when his name and title were absent from the list of mayoral appointments included in the agenda for council confirmation.

If he had not submitted his resignation, Trumbull would have remained in the Gloversville position as a “hold over” until his reappointment or the appointment of another individual was put forward by the mayor for council confirmation.

Last March, the Johnstown Water Board considered a proposed request for proposal for a new water superintendent drafted by the Fulton County Planning Department. The board also heard a proposal from Jackson, who said Deputy City Engineer Joel Wilson could, in effect, serve day-to-day water superintendent duties at no cost.

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

A Fulton County grand jury report on an investigation into the Johnstown Water Board made public Jan. 7 didn’t call for indictments. But the report made four recommendations for the board and city government for the future.

Those recommendations were: the water board should hire a water superintendent, establish a chain of command for the Water Department, the board must have bylaws in place, and the city and water board should take all steps to ensure any future land projects go through necessary steps to get state Department of Health approval for installing water lines prior to selling.

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