Hadley building commissioner leaving post in spring

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  • Hadley Building Commissioner Timothy Neyhart visits the site of the town’s new fire substation on River Drive in North Hadley on Wednesday to inspect reinforcing steel and forms before a pour by Valley Concrete and Construction. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hadley Building Commissioner Timothy Neyhart visits the site of the town's new fire substation on River Road in North Hadley to inspect reinforcing steel and forms before a pour by Valley Concrete and Construction on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hadley Building Commissioner Timothy Neyhart visits the site of the town's new fire substation on River Road in North Hadley to inspect reinforcing steel and forms before a pour by Valley Concrete and Construction on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 9/3/2019 10:36:28 PM

HADLEY — Town officials are beginning to plan for the departure of the building commissioner who has handled inspections of Hadley’s commercial and residential construction and zoning enforcement for the past three decades.

Timothy Neyhart, who has been in the position for 31 years, informed the Select Board that he intends to retire April 16, 2020.

Neyhart, 64, told officials last week that his decision should give them a sufficient amount of time for succession planning.

“It gives us plenty of time to figure out what to do,” Neyhart said.

But Neyhart said there is a lack of qualified building commissioners in Massachusetts, with estimates that the shortage is about 200 statewide, and that exploring a shared commissioner and paying a higher salary may be necessary. Neyhart earned $61,629 last year.

Neyhart said he doesn’t have enough time to physically go out and inspect each residential property under construction, appreciating that he has reliable contractors he can trust. This does cause some potential risk to the town, though, as he will periodically examine photos of construction work to make sure buildings meet code.

In his role as both inspector and zoning enforcement officer, Neyhart said he is in touch daily with the police and fire chiefs to make sure projects are being built to the correct specifications.

Select Board Chairman Christian Stanley said a committee will be established to prepare for hiring Neyhart’s replacement, with a goal to have any search done by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, a search for a successor to Suzanne Travisano as Council on Aging director continues.

With Travisano departing, the Select Board is increasing the hours for program coordinator Violet Suska and Lauren Hannigan as community outreach coordinator. Suska’s hours will go from 35 to 40 per week, and her compensation will rise from $22 to $27 per hour, while Hannigan’s hours will go from 15 to 25 per week.

Senior center representatives also plan to bring to fall Town Meeting an article to make the increase in Hannigan’s hours permanent, with Jane Nevinsmith, chairwoman of the senior center building committee, informing the Select Board that Hannigan is seeing more people at risk who need more help.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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