Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The 'Grader' Good in Richmondville

Eric Sperbeck wants to be Richmondville’s Town Highway Superintendent. With a Masters degree in education and a previous stint on Richmondville’s Village Board of Trustees, Sperbeck believes he has the experience and the dedication necessary to oust incumbent Keith Althiser in this November’s elections.

Sperbeck is careful not to attack the job of current highway department crew members but he points to plenty of administrative issues that offer room for improvement. Sperbeck criticizes the way the Town handled the sale of an aged and mechanically failing highway department grader. The grader was sold to the Town of Root, who then made a small investment to do the mechanical work necessary to repair it. However, since then, the Town highway department has been renting a grader at a monthly rate that has now exceeded the small investment made by the Town of Root. Clearly, Eric Sperbeck is someone who will work on behalf of Richmondville taxpayers for the greater good, or should I say, the ‘grader’ good.

Then there’s the Town garage, a facility that is literally collapsing into a stream below it. What has the current leadership done to prevent this? Sperbeck also expresses an interest in seeking out grants, addressing overtime issues and looking into sharing services with other communities.

Some may say that highway superintendent elections are not all-important. But I believe that few things are as important as partaking in our civic duty to choose those officials which are closest to home. Being highway superintendent requires tough decisions about how much salt to use, how deep to make the ditches on the side of the road and the appropriate diameter of culvert pipes.

I’m not urging Richmondville voters to choose Sperbeck or Althiser. I am urging voters to go out and spend at least a few days thoroughly researching their Town’s highway superintendent candidates. There’s really nothing much at stake, aside from the very foundation of our democracy.

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