COLTON - A Windmill Road man who has been working full time for the Department of Public Works will be challenging the incumbent highway superintendent in a Republican primary later this month.
Justin Johnson of 73 Windmill Road, Colton, is making a primary challenge against incumbent Highway Superintendent Kevin S. Hawley.
Mr. Johnson said he sees a need for multiple changes in the department.
The 30-year-old has worked for the department for 8 1/2 years, while also filling in for the highway department with flagging duties among other jobs on an as needed basis. Now he is turning to the voters in his quest for a new position.
I applied for a job for the supervisor of Public Works and was passed up for that. They hired someone without experience who didnt work within the department. I have nothing negative against the current supervisor of Public Works. I just didnt agree with it, he said. I have decided that myself Id like to see some things change. Id like to see how the hiring process is done. I firmly believe that if you are not happy with something, you should do what you can to change it.
Mr. Johnson also said that he runs a lot of the equipment used by the town crews and has considerable welding experience. In the past he worked for a welding machine shop. He stated that he has a well rounded background with construction and around that kind of work in general.
As far as what lies ahead for Colton, Mr. Johnson is curious as to what will become of the recent settlement made between the town and Brookfield Power. He also says that equipment maintenance should be addressed more seriously.
Every town has problems with budget. The lawsuit between Erie Boulevard and Colton has been settled so well see what happens with taxes there, Mr. Johnson said. The maintenance on the equipment could be on a more routine schedule as well.
In the end, Mr. Johnson hopes that come voting time, more people make their voices heard.
I would like to see more people get out and vote. Id like to see that, even if theyre not voting for me. Thats the best way for people to get what they want, he said.
On the other side of the Republican Primary is the 47-year-old Mr. Hawley. He will soon be completing his second term and eighth year at the helm of the department, a tenure in which he feels he has accomplished a lot.
Weve reconstructed and resurfaced over 10 miles of road. We also replaced two bridges in I believe 2006, Mr. Hawley of 4604 state Highway 56, Colton said. Weve seen increasing in our CHIPS funding from the state, and Ive tried to utilize that to the best of my ability to improve our infrastructure, he said.
Before becoming the Colton highway superintendent, Mr. Hawley operated his own excavating business in Colton for 17 years. Sandwiching the time period of that work, he also worked various construction jobs.
With his run as superintendent nearing a decade, Mr. Hawley says there is still work to be done, and he would like to be along for the ride.
Id like to continue the work that Ive started and work on maintaining the roads. I shoot to try to get two miles of road a year. Because of budget history, Id like to do more but thats what we can afford, he said. Also, Im not sure how this new settlement with Erie Boulevard will work out. Ive always tried to save money while Ive been here without cutting back on services.
The primary winner will run on the GOP line in the November election against the winner of an Independent line primary between Harold Bush and Brion J. Stowe.