Southampton Highway Superintendent Edward J. Cauley to retire
SOUTHAMPTON — Edward J. Cauley, possibly one of the most recognized faces in town government, said he plans to retire this summer after nearly three decades as highway superintendent.
“I want to retire and spend some time with my grandkids,” he said Thursday. “I’ve been here almost 30 years, and that’s enough time.”
Cauley, 62, said his last day on the job will be July 31, but he will remain on the payroll due to unused vacation days until October.
Cauley is also the town’s emergency management director and a member of the Board of Selectmen, the Personnel Board, the Water Commission and the Park Commission.
He said he wanted to provide plenty of advance notice of his retirement so that the Select Board could update the highway superintendent job description and advertise the position in time to find a replacement before he leaves.
As a member of the Select Board, he said, he looks forward to being involved in that process, including helping to choose his replacement.
“If it was posted in the spring, then when the candidate is selected, that candidate can work with me for several weeks and see how it’s done,” he said.
Cauley said Southampton has evolved since he moved to town in 1973. Its population has nearly doubled, to almost 6,000, and it’s become known as a bedroom community, he said.
He was hired as highway superintendent in 1984 after running his own construction company for years, he said.
During his 29-year tenure as highway superintendent, Cauley said, he has overseen the creation of 25 new roads due to growth in town. He also supervised the consolidation of the Water Department under the Highway Department, and oversaw improvements to the town’s athletic fields.
One of the most memorable experiences in his 29 years on the job, he said, occurred between 1997 and 2001, when the state Department of Environmental Protection discovered that private wells in the Hampton Ponds area of town were contaminated with trichloroethylene, a suspected carcinogen. It prompted the town to install miles of pipes to bring town water to the affected homes.
“It was a major feat,” Cauley said. “Not just for us, but for the whole town.”
He said that goes for most projects he’s worked on over the years. “I’ve had a lot of good help and support to get these things done for Southampton,” he said.
Cauley, who resides on Jonathan Judd Circle, receives an annual salary of $86,345, making him the highest-paid town employee.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.