In defense of Stockbridge highway superintendent

To the editor:

I was shocked to read the article in the Oct. 24 edition of The Eagle concerning the Stockbridge highway superintendent, Leonard Tisdale.

I am a professional engineer with almost 50 years of experience in the highway industry, 36-plus years with the New York State Department of Transportation and almost 10 years with a private contractor.

It was through this contractor that I got to know Mr. Tisdale professionally for several years. Leonard is among the most intelligent, conscientious, diligent, hardworking, cooperative professionals that I have ever worked with. My duties involved meeting with almost every DPW superintendent in Berkshire County, in addition to superintendents in New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

Mr. Tisdale is one of the best superintendents in that large group. I read the article and I watched the video of the Select Board’s meeting, but I realize that I don’t have all the information pertaining to this issue.

I do know a few things that are pertinent: Highway superintendents in small towns like Stockbridge are working superintendents, and because their crews are small, they cannot be assigned to Town Hall as they need to direct and work with the crews every day.

Highway superintendents are not procurement officers, and that duty should be carried out by town administrative staff. Highway superintendents’ daily duties and responsibilities do not allow them the extra time required to be assigned the responsibilities of overseeing bridge replacement or highway garage replacement projects.

The NYSDOT has engineering staff assigned to these types of projects full time. Stockbridge should have hired consulting engineers to oversee these large, complicated projects. To sum it up, if I were in a position to hire a town highway superintendent, Leonard Tisdale would be one of my top choices.

Edward J Denehy, Great Barrington