BARTON — Town of Barton residents will have two candidates to choose from for the position of highway superintendent when they hit the polls for Tuesday’s primary.
Incumbent Chris Spaulding is being challenged by Fred Schweiger for the four-year position.
In an effort to help local voters make an informed choice when they cast their ballot, both candidates were sent questionnaires by the Morning Times.
Please share some background about yourself.
Spaulding: I am an Army Combat Veteran with an honorable discharge. I am a heavy equipment operator and also hold a class A CDL license. I have twenty five years of construction experience including building bridges, repairing roads, correcting drainage problems, batching and pouring concrete, and working with aggregate and bituminous products. I am a New York State motor vehicle inspector of cars and heavy trucks. I am mechanically able to fix equipment and vehicles. For the past three years, I have been the President of the Tioga County Highway Superintendent Association. I am also recently a member of the Public Safety Committee.
Schweiger: My entire life has been spent in Barton, where I live with my wife of 30 years and have raised our four grown children.
I was an owner/operator of a large dairy farm in Barton. This gave me skills in a vast array of areas including heavy equipment operation, construction, mechanics and repair, which was my area of expertise in the business. I have held several managerial positions since the loss of our farm to a fire over 10 years ago that have continued to prepare me for the role of Highway Superintendent.
I have significant experience in Logistics, Management on multiple levels, Quality Assurance, and Inventory Management. I designed a standard practice for shops across the country including training of all new hire managers, I helped beta test and launch inventory and management software, I have taken courses in Business and Leadership, Entre-Leadership, and Management. I have also taken industry and safety specific courses for all of the positions I have held. I have extensive and varied computer skills and keep clean and precise records. I have helped to update, improve and streamline problem areas /entire shops, financial record keeping, inventory, and computer processes in almost every position I have held.
I currently hold the dual role of Quality Assurance Manager and Batch Plant Manager at Porter’s concrete in Waverly.
What are your reasons for seeking office?
Spaulding: I currently hold the position and I am seeking re-election for Town of Barton Highway Superintendent for many different reasons but the most important is that I am here for the residents and what I can do to make these roads safer for daily commute. There is so much more that I would like to accomplish for the town than I have already. There is two bridges, one on Broad St. and one on Foster Rd. that need repair. Along with many more drainage problems that need to be looked at.
Schweiger: Being a taxpayer and lifelong resident of the town of Barton, I recognize the impact road conditions can have on our safety and the quality of our everyday life. It is important to me that not only my own family, but the families of everyone in the town of Barton have a safe daily commute.
We know each other in this town. For that reason I want to assure the public that I would hold this position with honesty, transparency, and efficiency. I would utilize my past experiences to increase the efficiency and productivity of the Highway Department. I would ensure finances are above board and projects are completed in a timely manner. I hope to look with a fresh set of eyes at how the town highway department is run and see what areas can be streamlined, improved or removed to increase productivity and cut unnecessary expenses and waste.
The people of the town of Barton should know where their money is going, and should see the benefits of it.
What do you believe the role of highway superintendent should be?
Spaulding: The role of the Highway Superintendent is being able to recognize what needs attention and prioritize to get the problems fixed. Being able to work with surrounding communities, agencies, and businesses. I, Chris Spaulding, have worked hard to bring our community closer with shared services. I am available 24/7 and respond to all situations. Town of Barton maintains roads, bridges, and culverts to the highest standard possible.
Schweiger: I believe that the role of the Highway Superintendent is of course the construction, safety and maintenance of roadways, bridges, buildings, and related facilities. However being fiscally conservative, maintaining accurate records, managing inventory and employees, are all also a vital part of the job. Communication, both with the town board and the public is extremely important to the position.
What would you like to say to voters prior to election day?
Spaulding: I encourage all residents to reach out to me with anything they have concerns with so that we can take a look at the situations and solve it the best we can.
Schweiger: Beyond the maintenance and safety of our roads, one of the key things that I hope to drastically improve if I am elected to office, is record keeping, inventory management and reporting.
As the State Comptroller pointed out in his April 2019 audit of the Barton Highway Department, the Superintendent should be maintaining accurate inventory lists of assets, reporting and providing documentation to the board when assets are sold and all proceeds accounted for.
The Superintendent should also be diligent about price comparisons (for such things as fuel for example) and get multiple bids/quotes when looking at potential large projects or purchases. I feel a thorough and complete cataloging of all of the Departments current assets and inventory and matching that to what records may be available and to what equipment the department actually has will greatly enhance productivity and transparency of the Highway Department. I 100 percent believe that a significant overhaul in this area will improve not only the efficiency of the department but also save the taxpayers money.