On the issues that matter in Malone NY (USA)

Is the village DPW slowly
disappearing ?

Picture of Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

June 3, 2024

The Situation

Behold the Village of Malone! It has several hundred miles of streets, miles and miles of sewer and water lines, a village “forest,” streetlights, street signs, and numerous public buildings and several parks — all of which require maintenance.

The Question

How many men and women do you think it should require to maintain all of this, year-round?

I’m not asking about office staff; I’m talking about men and women working out there on the so-called village infrastructure.

Eighteen? Twenty? Maybe more?

How many does the village actually have?
Water & Sewer
Everything else in the village
Does it really make sense to have built the (I believe) $6 million Village Garage in the boondocks?
The Village Garage could have gone here, where Roberts Sports is now located. DANC said "nope"!
Yikes! What's going on?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Two and a half weeks ago, at a village board meeting, I asked the mayor, “What’s going on with DPW? Why so few workmen?” (I’m a nerd; I go to all the meetings.)

She responded that the village has a dickens of a time finding qualified applicants. She also seemed to say that, although the salary is not stellar, the benefits, including retirement, are indeed spectacular. 

But, the chief problem — if I heard her correctly — is that we simply can’t find CDL-certified people. (CDL: Commercial Driver’s License.) We need CDL people to operate the large trucks and, I gather, stuff like front-loaders. Trustee Bonner pointed out that years ago it cost an individual less than $100 (I believe he said) to take the CDL course, whereas it now costs over $4,000! The consensus among the trustees was that this is clearly making it difficult to find CDL drivers.

The mayor went on to say that the scarcity of CDL drivers is affecting all the surrounding municipalities, including the Town of Malone.

When I asked the mayor if the CDL shortage meant we could not, then, hire non-CDL-certified workmen for non-driving tasks, she responded in the affirmative. I found her answer hard to believe, and yet nodded my head in (dubious and incredulous) agreement.

What did I do, next?

I’m glad you asked! I contacted Andrea Stewart, Town Supervisor, and asked if the town is having the same staffing problems, and, if it is, are they for the same reasons.

This is what Supervisor Stewart wrote back:


I am following up, in writing, pertaining to a conversation you and I had yesterday regarding the town’s highway department and if we had difficulty filling positions. 

 Ironically, I received a phone call this afternoon from Village Trustee McKee, asking similar questions of me,  which were prompted by a conversation the two of you had. I have copied my board on this, as I keep them apprised of all of my dealings on behalf of  the town, and Highway Supt. Andrews, as this pertains to him as well.

 I will summarize both conversations by stating that the town has been fortunate in that when we do have a vacant position, we receive anywhere from 8 to a dozen applications, many times from neighboring municipal entities, including the village. 

When asked individually by both you and Archie why we have so many vying for a position, the short answer is, we pay appropriately. (You can’t expect to pay someone with a CDL the same as a laborer, for instance.) And we strive to be competitive.  

We provide health benefits through NYSHIP (the NYS Health Insurance Program), state retirement, and additional benefits (dental and vision) through the CSEA bargaining agreement.   

More importantly is that, in addition to the pay scale and benefits for mechanic, heavy equipment operators, medium equipment operators and laborer positions, we offer respect and appreciation to the men and women of our highway department. We do not micro-manage. 

Under the leadership of our highway superintendent, short-term and long range plans are made with input from our staff, who all have varied areas of expertise.  We do not chastise or belittle our staff, especially not in public or in front of others. 

I suggested to Archie that the village needed to look in the mirror as to why they had issues.  

This summer we have hired two seasonal employees who have come to us through the BOCES program, one of whom is in her second season with us.  

I could go on at length bragging or singing the praises of our highway department, but I will just say how thankful I am for a dedicated, hard-working crew.

Andrea Stewart
Malone Town Supervisor

5 thoughts on “Is the Village DPW slowly disappearing?”

  1. First and foremost, someone needs to look at the qualified DPW employees who have left the village. I have asked a few of these former DPW employees why they left. The answer from all of them is they were sick of working for the Village of Andrea.

    You have a wishy-washy village board and overbearing mayor, who thinks she knows more than she actually does.

  2. Nerd or not, your presence is so important. Asking the right questions. I hope everyone in your village reads and shows up at these meetings.

    I don’t live in Malone and even I have questions.

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