Highway super contest in Hartford

B y Jaime Thomas

There’s two men running and only one position open for superintendent of highways in Hartford.

Medrick Smith, a former highway department employee, is challenging incumbent Greg Brown for the four-year position.

Brown is in his fourth year as Hartford’s highway superintendent, and he came to the job with much experience. He worked for the Washington County Department of Public Works for 11 years and spent five and-a-half years as highway supervisor for the county. He also served eight years on the town board.

“I’ve been involved with the community; it’s my turn to give back,” Brown said, pointing out that he has a lot of experience with municipal budgets and understands what it takes to keep taxes under control.

He said he has stayed current with training through Cornell Road School and has overseen a number of projects for the town. He said in-house maintenance has saved the town a lot of money.

The highway department recently built two salt sheds at half the projected cost by utilizing volunteer labor. The cost of the project came in under $20,000, less than half the projected  total of $45,000. He has initiated other projects as well, including insulation of the highway garage roof and more.

“The main thing for us is to keep taxes low and be able to provide service,” Brown said. “I’m a taxpayer too; I don’t want my taxes to get any higher,” he said.

Smith, who worked full-time for the town for about three years, was fired from the highway department several years ago for violating union work rules and abandonment of work, Town Supervisor Dana Haff said.

“He was terminated for non-medical missing of work,” Haff said, referencing Teamsters Union terms.

Smith was unable to be reached for comment after repeated attempts.

Other positions that will be on this year’s ballot include town supervisor, town council and town clerk, all of which are uncontested. Michael Deyoe and Barbara Beecher are running for the town council, Denise Petteys is aiming for clerk again and Dana Ted Haff is lined up as supervisor.

Hartford residents can vote at the firehouse from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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