HINSDALE -- The Select Board on Wednesday acted quickly by hiring Rene Senecal of Chester as the new Highway Department superintendent in the wake of Raymond Huntoon's recent resignation.
Senecal, 60, identified the most pressing needed repairs in store for town roads as drainage installation and said the town struck him as "proactive not reactive," which he liked.
"I'll work for every single resident," Senecal said. "I don't make rash decisions; I assess every situation as it is, and my job is to do the best I can for the town as a whole."
Senecal served as road boss in Chester, where he lives, for six years and worked for the town's highway department for seven. Earlier, he worked as a district service manager for a large construction trailer company.
Though he "loved the residents, loved the job" in Chester, Senecal said it was time to move on and he anticipates starting work in Hinsdale.
"We've got a lot to do, but I'm sure it can be accomplished," Senecal said. "We've got a great set of guys."
Additionally, Senecal said he would answer to the Select Board but "a lot of things should stop with me and shouldn't be problems any further than that."
He said he would post his cellphone at Town Hall so residents could contact him for pressing road-related issues. Furthermore, Senecal would like to develop one-, three-, five- and 10-year road maintenance plans.
In many cities and towns, the road boss job is a political one. But in Hinsdale, where disagreements between residents are more marked and aggressive than the average place, certainly the average Berkshire County town, it is correspondingly more subject to scrutiny.
Huntoon, the previous road chief, was said to have resigned for just these issues. Some residents would regularly target Huntoon at Select Board meetings and he had allegedly been followed around town and photographed by residents critical of his work.
"You're always going to have somebody that doesn't agree; that's the nature of the game," Senecal said, addressing the issue. "So long as everyone wants to move forward, things will work out."
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