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Village authorizes hire of new public works employee in Massena

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By TIM FENSTER

MASSENA - The village’s Board of Trustees voted to allow Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad to search for a new employee to help staff the Massena Water Treatment Plant and the Massena Sewage Treatment Plant.

Mr. Fayad said the new employee is needed to help the public works staff address potential safety issues before they arise.

“If I don’t have proper staff in the buildings we operate, we’re going to have problems,” Mr. Fayad said.

For example, publics works employees would be able to put out brush fires that occasionally ignite, but would not have the manpower to try to prevent the fire from occuring in the first place, Mr. Fayad said.

“We won’t be able to do any preventive maintanence. We’d become a reactive group instead of a proactive group,” he said.

Two of the six employees are currently on medical leave, which has forced other employees to work overtime and fill in on weekends, Mr. Fayad said.

“A lot of these guys are getting burned out,” he said.

If the village board had not agrreed to allow Mr. Fayad to canvass to hire a new employee, he said he might have to looking at contractors, something he would prefer to avoid. “If we can stay in house. let’s stay in house,” he said.

Trustee Francis A. Carvel questioned whether the new hire would allow the village to cut down on its current scheduled weekend overtime.

“No. New employees can be scheduled to work weekends as part of their 40-hour schedule, but we don’t have the manpower to be able to do that right now,” Mr. Fayad said.

The new hire will cost the village approximately $42,000 per year, according to Mr. Fayad. However that cost will be offset by allowing the Department of Public Works to retain its leachate contract with St. Lawrence County and its whey contract with Losurdo Foods, which together generate about $46,000 in revenues for the village, Mr. Fayad said.

Civil Services Employee Association Unit 8407 President Mark K. Patterson said hiring a new employee was a wise move.

“We are shorthanded, down to four operators including the chief operator at the water plant. We have a guy off with a back injury and a guy off with a broken leg. You’ve got a lot going on at these plants, and you don’t have the people to adequately maintain it,” he said.

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