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Clarke named interim DPW chief

August 23, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — After more than 30 years in town service and about two years out of it, Hamer Clarke thought he was retired.

On Monday, the Town Council unanimously voted to pull him back into the fold to be part-time, interim DPW Director for up to six months, while leaving day-to-day department control in the hands of Maureen Ciesla as temporary full-time assistant director.

"I've started to use this," Clarke told the Council, waving a notebook. "I don't want to fill the whole thing."

Noting he's got "limited time" to devote to the job he once did full-time, he urged the council to fill the post rapidly with a "young, energetic, technically-competent, people person as soon as possible."

Clarke is replacing Ken Kalinowski, who left last week for a job in Pepperell. But he was barely half-joking when he noted that many of the projects he'll be shepherding are ones Clarke himself started years ago.

The town advertised the job July 29 on the Mass. Municipal Association website, with candidate reviews slated to start last week and run until it's filled. Among other things, the director needs to be a "licensed professional engineer" according to the Charter.

Clarke and some of the councilors noted that formality is really the only thing preventing Ciesla from holding the job. As "Chief of Engineering Services" for years, including some stints as acting director, she has an engineering degree, but has never taken the certification test, he said.

"It's my town," Clarke said when asked why he accepted the offer. "In a limited capacity, I'm willing to help."

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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