Some of the comments made at last Saturday's Town Meeting while not overtly critical, were in my opinion, negative in nature toward our newly hired Road Agent/ DPW director. Chris Theriault has been on the job since August 29th of 2016, just about seven months. He is the first Road Agent that was not elected by voters, but rather voters gave that authority to the BoS at the 2016 Town Meeting to appoint one.
The BoS did their due diligence and hired Chris.
Not long after he settled in, the winter of 2016-17 began, numerous personnel issues had occurred and he was the new guy trying to fill the shoes of long time town fixture, Scott Kinmond. Scott was a difficult act for anyone to follow and Chris, being new to the job, had an expected learning curve. He does things differently than his predecessor and that is okay and expected. Change, especially after many years of doing things the same way, is not easy. If anyone expected that we would hire or even find a Scott Kinmond clone, they were not being realistic.
No one in my recollection, had complaints this winter about the work of our town employees and in fact, all that I had heard were very complimentary. They did a great job in one of our most harsh winters. Heck of way for a new DPW Director to get his feet wet.
Yes there were issues with private road plowing and yes there were some communication issues, but is very unfair to base a persons overall job performance on how well private contractors plowed their assigned roads. It certainly needs to improve and one change made recently is to consider clearing of private roads on a par with clearing town roads. That may require additional contractors and increase cost, but it will certainly improve the speed of which roads are plowed.
In customer service, a business can do 99 things perfectly, but do one thing wrong and no one remembers the positive, only the one negative. Look at things in totality and not in isolation. Chris brings many good qualities and experience to our town, and in the long run, if we give him a chance, he will be successful.
I do hope that our new ( renewed?) BoS member who has been very critical of Mr. Theriault, will also give him a chance and now as a member of the BoS, he also needs to remember that he is Chris's employer and should do all he can as such to make sure he is successful in running our DPW.