Winthrop Public Works Director David Hickey made it officials last Friday, submitting his resignation to Town Manager James McKenna and accepting a position as Town Engineer in the town of Wellesley. His last day as Public Works Director in Winthrop will be August 12.
According to Hickey, who had been the director in Winthrop for the past seven years, the move comes with a “modest pay raise,” and a chance to spend more time with his family, both major points in his decision.
“I’d like the community to know that this was not an easy decision,” said Hickey, when reached on Monday. “I’ve very much enjoyed working here. It was challenging occasionally, but it was also very rewarding. . .I’m going to miss, I’m going to miss it a lot.”
Hickey also noted that Wellesley does not have a residency requirement, and said he is not planning to move his family.
“This mostly had to do what is right for my career and for my family right now, this was the best choice right now,” he said. “As town engineer I can pretty much work nine to five and that’s good for my family and professionally, I’ll be getting the chance to work for a boss who has a master’s degree in public administration and I expect that I’ll be able to learn in that environment.”
Hickey went on to say that his decision was not at all influenced by the town’s financial difficulties over the past few years or budget cuts or consolidation efforts.
“I think anyone who has worked in the municipal government understands how difficult every decision is, how tight financially things have been, especially lately and this is not a result of any of those issues,” said Hickey. “It really is just about the things I said before. Hopefully, this will be very good for my career in the long run and it adds some stability to my family life right now.”
Town Manager James McKenna did not return a call seeking comment on Hickey’s departure in time for the Transcript’s deadline. However, a source with knowledge of the situation said that Operations Manager Steve Calla will be taking over as the interim Public Works Director, while a search is conducted and Hickey confirmed that.
“I believe that the plan is for Steve (Calla) to take over on an interim basis, with some support from town hall and the Town Manager is in the early stages of putting together a search,” said Hickey.
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Council President Jeffrey Turco asked Town Manager James McKenna whether he had any concern about the fact that Hickey held a second position in town government.
“Originally I did,” responded McKenna. “But I do see the value of what both Councilor Maggio and Councilor Calla point out – that what’s important and become very evident to us is someone that has the ability to interface with the various [town] offices on a more frequent and active basis is very vital to that position and I see the value with having that.
The clerk to the Council position pays a stipend of $5,200.