SHREWSBURY — Aimed at better efficiency, the town is making organizational changes to improve operations and services, following months of analysis and planning.
The annual May Town Meeting approved the establishment of six new position titles to replace other titles in use, lessening the budgetary impact while enabling redefined responsibilities mainly within the Highway, Public Buildings, Parks and Recreation and Engineering departments.
In June, selectmen approved the consolidation of the Highway, Water and Sewer, Engineering, Public Buildings, Parks and Recreation and Cemetery departments into a single department under the direction of a Department of Public Works.
The new DPW will be headed by Town Engineer Jeffery Howland, who was promoted to DPW director.
Kristen D. Las, assistant town manager/economic development coordinator, will continue in that role, but was also promoted to take on additional responsibilities for all land-use operations: planning, building inspections, zoning and economic development and community and human services functions (Veterans Services, Council on Aging and Public Health).
Nick Repekta, the former highway foreman, was promoted to Highway Division manager and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the division, including roadway and drainage improvements and maintenance and snow and ice operations.
Repekta fills the role formerly held by John Knipe Jr., who retired on Aug. 3, after 46 years of service to the town.
Also, David Snowdon III, administrative assistant to the town manager, was promoted to the new position of management analyst within the office of the town manager. He will serve as the town’s lead financial and budget analyst, supporting the operation of all town departments.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar said the changes represent an annual net cost to the town of $59,591, broken down as follows:
- Stipend for DPW director: $12,000
- Highway Division manager: $72,408
- Management analyst: $61,663
- Reclassification of assistant town manager: $10,000
- Total: $156,071, minus $96,480 for elimination of highway superintendent position, $59,591.
Mizikar said the changes are the first in a multi-phase reorganization that will modernize the town by moving away from department-based operations and planning toward a broader function and organization-wide approach. He said more changes will occur later this summer into the fall.