DPW Superintendent retiring Jan. 4

BELMONT — Allegany County will be saying goodbye to one of its longest-tenured employees shortly after the calendar flips over to 2019.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Guy James will be retiring effective Jan. 4, and on Wednesday the Public Works Committee took a big step towards making it official in appointing his successor, Justin Henry.

Henry came aboard just after Memorial Day and has been learning from James ever since, quickly taking over reports to the committee.

“I’m excited,” said Henry. “I couldn’t ask for a better person to take the reins from. Guy has done a great job.”

Henry is an Almond native who served in the Air Force from 2003 to 2009. He later worked for the New York State Department of Transportation and LC Whitford before taking his current post as Deputy Superintendent. Henry’s promotion to Superintendent for a four-year term will go before the full board Dec. 20 for official confirmation.

Henry will oversee a number of large projects Public Works has on the docket. The county was recently awarded more than $2 million in Bridge New York funds that will be used on County Route 20 in Cuba. Bridge replacements on Weidrick Road and Madison Street in Wellsville have also been approved. The county is also planning projects on Pine Street in Alfred and County Route 16.

“We’ve got some big projects coming up in the near future,” James said. “They’re all in the works, and Justin gets to see them through.”

James, a Scio native, has another month left in his career at DPW before retiring in early January. He received a round of applause from the committee in recognition of his many years of service to the county.

“I worked with him back in the day when he was a new employee and I worked here in the building,” said Legislator Karl Graves. “He always tried to help out and had the highest level of cooperation. He’s going to be sorely missed. I hope he’s imparted to Justin the importance of keeping open lines of communication. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

James, in turn, thanked county administrator Tim Boyde, who will also be stepping aside early in 2019.

“I would like to thank Tim Boyde for his help since he’s been here as county administrator. He’s been a real nice addition to the county and we wish him luck,” James said. “We appreciate what he’s done for our department, and working with all of the department heads.”

In regular business, Henry reported work on the ground floor of the county building continues to move forward. Test results for asbestos and other materials have come in and no mitigation will be needed on the first floor, which should result in cost savings.

The county will also be saving money on HVAC work in legislative chambers. The committee had previously approved awarding a bid to an outside contractor, but Henry said further evaluation indicated county crews should be able to handle the project.

“In the final review of the scope of work, there was a couple issues brought up that would have changed the bid price,” Henry said. “After looking at the issues that were brought up, we were able to decide we’ll be able to do the work with in house forces and should be able to get the project done at a much lower price than was originally anticipated, that being $15,000. It should come in considerably less, and that includes replacing the ceiling tiles also within that work.”