Public Works Chief, Engineer Resign

by | Sep 25, 2022

The Planning Department returned to full strength last week with the arrival of a new planning technician but, at the same time, the new director of Public Works is returning to his old job in DPW director in Jamestown, and the assistant town engineer took a job in South Kingstown. 

Town Manager Andy Nota acknowledged the has been a lot of staff turnover at the top level since his arrival in 2019. 

Mike Gray was hired as director of DPW in July. According to Nota, who had worked with Gray in Jamestown, it’s a tough time to find people for positions like these. Jamestown had been unable to fill Gray’s position after he left and they convinced him to return. Gray had continued to do some parttime work for Jamestown during his time in East Greenwich. Nota said he will do that in reverse for East Greenwich when he returns to Jamestown – his last day is Friday (9/30). 

Fred Gomes, special projects manager for DPW, will serve as interim director.

Meanwhile, Mark Conboy, the town’s assistant engineer, took an assistant director position in South Kingstown. His last day was Friday (9/23), but Nota said he too has offered to assist EG in the interim. 

Nota said he couldn’t fault people for leaving when they had good opportunities come up. Both jobs have been posted and the town is looking to hire a senior engineer in place of Conboy, in case they are unable to find a DPW director candidate with an engineering degree. 

DPW and Planning have seen significant turnover in the past year. First Town Planner Lisa Bourbonnais left last November, after 27 years with the town. Then Asst. Town Planner Lea Anthony-Hitchen was elevated to fill Bourbonnais’s job but was soon hired away by Portsmouth. (Bruce Lofgren was hired to fill the assistant planner position in April). Planning Analyst Aaron Lindo, the final member of the Bourbonnais team, took an assistant town planner job with Portsmouth in August. Al Rinaldi came on as town planner in June. Christina Marseglia started as planning analyst last week; she comes to the department from the real estate field.

Joe Duarte resigned as head of public works in April.

Nota said he expects the DPW positions to be the final major holes to be filled, noting the new faces at the top in Community Services, IT, and Finance, in addition to Planning. 

“I think I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

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Willy
Willy
September 25, 2022 8:44 pm

Hmmm must be more money somewhere else, with all the money the town manager is making and from what I hear what the OT is on the fire department must not be enough to keep the bottom feeder salary positions filled.

Buddy
Buddy
September 26, 2022 10:20 am
Reply to  Willy

Smells really bad. Independent firm needs to confidentiality evaluate the issue. South Kingstown seems to have a major problem in various aspects from the town, schools, and other civic portions. From observation it seems that the town manager is trying to operate things as a dictatorship with rules, regulations, and mandates. After listening to him speak a few times now, he has overstepped and needs reigning in or fired.

Babs
Babs
September 28, 2022 1:02 pm
Reply to  Buddy

I agree! What is the town council doing to address this? Are they buying the act? This used to be such a nice town

Alan Clarke
Alan Clarke
September 26, 2022 7:27 am

I know this might sound like a dumb idea, especially since it’s from someone who feels “the world is coming to an end” and all, but why not stop chasing executives but instead promote from within and then hire to replace those who have moved up? That’s what they used to do. First off, they likely came from the town. Then top dogs will at least have a knowledge of the town’s cultural history — if not from birth, at least for a few years. Hiring executives who plop from town to town gaining a few thousand more with each jump just sounds silly to me. There is no incentive for anyone to stay on the job. Lower level positions are stagnant while the big money goes to executives from elsewhere. Promote from within the departments and then hire those who will learn the job from the ground up. I know. Dumb idea. But why are we spending all this money on schooling when there is no encouragement for anyone to stay here after graduation?

MARY C MADDEN
MARY C MADDEN
September 28, 2022 12:11 pm
Reply to  Alan Clarke

Hiring from within promotes loyalty and works when the person is qualified for the position and not just “bumped up.”

Alan Clarke
Alan Clarke
September 30, 2022 9:14 pm
Reply to  MARY C MADDEN

Nothing is perfect but filling a position should begin with a look to see who is there already. Might be no one wants the position but if you don’t ask…

Donna fogarty
Donna fogarty
October 3, 2022 7:00 am
Reply to  Alan Clarke

Does not sound like a dumb idea at all! This is the way things should be done if it is possible.

Greg Dantas
Greg Dantas
September 26, 2022 8:10 am

Concerning that so many tenured members of town leadership have resigned to take lateral moves in other towns in 3 years. Might be time for an Independent 3rd party Wellness Check on Morale at Town Hall. Yes Town Council I’m speaking to Each of You.

David H.
David H.
September 26, 2022 10:48 am
Reply to  Greg Dantas

I agree with you, Greg. And how many of these workers were forced out? How many of the people brought in have a personal connection to Mr. Nota? This needs to be investigated more. I’d be very interested to see the results of a third party investigation

Heather T.
Heather T.
September 26, 2022 8:48 am

Am I the only one wondering why all of these department heads and senior staff have left since Mr. Nota has come into the position? What is going on there? I find this all really suspicious especially since this article says that the people leaving here have been here so long. I mean 27 years in EG? Why is everyone running for the hills now? I’d like to know what’s going on in my town…

GregDantas
GregDantas
September 26, 2022 9:15 am
Reply to  Heather T.

It’s a mass Exodus in 3 years. It needs to be looked at closely bye an independent 3rd party. Current employees will not speak. Maybe interview everyone that has left and we will have a Story.

Anon
Anon
September 26, 2022 10:22 am
Reply to  GregDantas

They’d speak if they weren’t at risk. Everyone has stories to tell.

John deere
John deere
September 26, 2022 9:02 pm

Started when a valued, long term Harbor Master was forced out. Nothing new here.

David H.
David H.
September 28, 2022 8:41 am

I can’t help but notice that I commented on this article on the 25th and my comment still is not showing up…

David H.
David H.
September 28, 2022 12:46 pm

Thank you, Elizabeth

David
David
September 28, 2022 3:15 pm

I have a simple answer for all commenters, this is happening everywhere, not just EG, and it will become even harder to replace key personnel as time goes on. One of the reasons is people in these positions are tired of dealing with the never ending non-stop b.s. that the public brings to the table everyday. With all the social media, everyone is an expert with “rights” and believes they know what is best (usually for them). When you say no to them, they go to the council or some other sympathetic ear and you get undermined. Leadership will not support you today, its just a sad fact of our now weak society. And on top of that, most of these jobs are 24 hour on call positions which is challenging enough. So, if you are well qualified, its just not worth it anymore, get the best opportunity for yourself, you do not need to be in a place you do not want to be anymore. Don’t be mistaken, these positions are necessary and must be filled by qualified individuals or or we are setting up for a big fall. And this is in every area; public works, road construction, water supply, police, teachers etc. Honestly, it does not look good for the future and I do not expect it to get better anytime soon.

GregDantas
GregDantas
September 29, 2022 10:31 am
Reply to  David

Getting one of these jobs in East Greenwich at one point in time was considered a great opportunity. Right now it’s considered a sentence and that is not consistent with this great town that my family has been in since the 1800s. We have a morale issue that needs to be addressed

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