The news that Winthrop’s DPW Director, Dave Hickey, may accept an offer to take over a similar job in the Town of Wellesley should come as no surprise to Winthrop residents.
First and foremost, Dave has proven himself to be an outstanding head of our DPW from the time he assumed the post in 2004. A Winthrop resident since 2001, Dave handled both the day-to-day and the emergency situations faced by our DPW with efficiency and professionalism. Winthrop’s DPW confronts many unique situations given that we are surrounded by water, but Dave always figured things out and handled matters, as was most evident during the harsh winter of 2010-2011.
Second, if Dave does leave for Wellesley, we have no doubt he will be the beneficiary of a major salary increase. Winthrop pays its employees, DPW workers, teachers, police, indeed, everybody, way below comparable and nearby communities.
This has not been a recent phenomenon. Historically, our town always has been tight fisted in its compensation for its workers. It goes back to when Winthrop first was founded and the cycle of poor pay never has been broken. Indeed, it would be hard to overcome because to do so would require a huge initial outlay on the tax rate, which of course never would happen.
But the result has been a drain from our schools and other departments of some of our most talented people. As we have noted before when writing on this subject, Winthrop basically serves as a training ground for top municipal employees who go on to other cities and towns. We even have lost long time residents for whom a town salary simply is not enough to raise a family with a middle class lifestyle.
So we wish Dave the best of luck if he takes the new job and we know we join with all Winthrop residents in thanking him for his years of excellent service to our community.