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Lewis highway chief quietly resigns from post

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County’s highway chief abruptly and quietly resigned late last week, citing desire for a change.

“When it’s time, it’s time, I guess,” Joseph C. “Chuck” Langs said Wednesday when reached at his residence near Lake Bonaparte.

Mr. Langs, 55, who had been superintendent of highways and solid waste management since July 2009, stepped down from the position late May 2.

The ex-superintendent said that his decision had nothing to do with treatment by other county officials and that Lewis County government is “a great place to work.”

However, he said, he felt it was time to do something different and he plans to go back into the construction business, although he has no job lined up yet.

“I’m going to put some applications out,” he said. “It’s a good time of year for that.”

David L. Becker, who has been deputy superintendent under Mr. Langs, is running the department on an interim basis.

Mr. Becker will split time between the highway garage off East Road and the highway office at the former St. Peter’s Catholic School off Shady Avenue.

County Legislature Chairman Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, said he and other county officials have been reviewing the job description to “make sure what is written down is what we want” before soliciting candidates for superintendent.

The legislative Transportation and Solid Waste Committee will have time to select a top candidate for an appointment at the legislators’ June 5 meeting, County Manager David H. Pendergast said.

Mr. Langs was hired by the county in February 1995 after working construction for about 20 years.

He was a deputy highway superintendent under Superintendents Gary F. Buckingham and Thomas M. Sweet, then was named interim highway chief when Mr. Sweet retired at the end of June 2009 after nearly 12 years in the post.

Mr. Langs subsequently was chosen from a pool of six candidates to take the $64,000-a-year post on a permanent basis and was appointed in January 2010 to a four-year term.

Upon becoming interim highway superintendent, Mr. Langs took Mr. Sweet’s seat on the Lewis County Planning Board.

He also serves on the Diana Town Council and is running for a second five-year term on the Harrisville Central School District Board of Education.

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