Town seeking new Building/Zoning Commissioner (plus a DPW and school position)

by beth on October 11, 2018

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I got word this week that we’re losing the Town’s Building Commissioner. Mark Robidoux confirmed that he’s soon headed to to the Town of Lincoln.

Southborough’s Building Commissioner position is both the Building Inspector and Zoning Enforcement Officer. It’s a position Robidoux held for the past five years.

In 2009, during a previous vacancy, selectmen briefly considered sharing a building inspector with another Town. That was due to the reduced number of building inspections when the real estate market was floundering. In the end, the plan was nixed. The board decided a full time employee was needed to do more zoning enforcement.

Obviously, the economy and development rebounded in subsequent years. Last year, citing the growing burden due to development, the Town added a new business/principal assistant position to support the busy office.

The news of Robidoux’s leaving adds to a list of important jobs the Town/district will need to fill. As I’ve previously shared, the Fire Chief, Superintendent of Schools, and the Director of Recreation have all announced their retirements. The difference is, those jobs will be open this spring/summer. The Robidoux replacement presumably needs hiring much sooner.

In looking for the Town’s job posting for replacing Robidoux, I found another one for an employee in the Public Works’ Water Division. Applications received prior to 9/28 were to get priority. But, since the posting is still listed, I’m sharing that below, too. There was also a recent posting on the schools’ website.

The Town also still has listings posted for the Economic Development Coordinator (the acting coordinator took the position on an interim basis) and part-time Dispatch positions for public safety. Click here for the Town’s Job Opportunities page.

(If you’d like to share your company’s job openings in Southborough, email mysouthborough@gmail.com.)

Town of Southborough

  • Building Commissioner/Zoning Enforcement Officer (full-time)
    The town of Southborough (population 10,000) is seeking qualified applicants for a Building Inspector/Zoning Enforcement Officer to enforce the state building code and local zoning bylaws. Duties also include conducting plan reviews, issuing building permits, inspecting buildings under construction, enforcing the zoning ordinances and investigating complaints. Inspector supervises part-time electrical, plumbing and building inspectors and admin staff of two. Minimum of five years’ experience in supervision of building construction or an equivalency, Massachusetts Building Supervisor’s License, supervisory skills and use of computer office applications required. Ability to obtain state certification as a building inspector in Massachusetts required. Letter of interest & resume should be addressed to Personnel, Town of Southborough, 17 Common Street, Southborough, MA 01772. Position is open until filled. Apply via link: https://www.southboroughtown.com/town-administrator/pages/job-opportunities. Mid-point of salary is mid 80’s. Review of credentials will commence immediately. EEO/AA
  • Water Division Employee (full-time)
    The Southborough Department of Public Works is receiving applications from mature and versatile individuals for an open position in the Water Division.The position involves work in all Southborough Public Works Divisions with a primary assignment to the Water Division. Work includes typical Water Division operations including water sampling, water meter reading installation and replacement, construction, repair and maintenance of water mains and services, hydrant installation, repair and maintenance, water easement maintenance, and pumping station operation and maintenance. Work also includes other Public Works operations including, but not limited to, sanding, snow plowing, roadway maintenance, transfer station operations, cemetery maintenance and assisting with interments. (Click here for more details and to apply.)

Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough

  • Special Education Assistant (full-time)
    Instructional Support, Paraprofessional/IA at Mary Finn School for Grades Pre-K to 1 (Click here for application)

Updated (10/11/18 10:30 am): Somehow, I made a doozy of a “typo”. I wrote that the Police Chief announced his retirement. It is the Fire Chief who announced he’ll be retiring in March.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Resident October 11, 2018 at 9:41 AM

The Chief of Police is not retiring, the Fire Chief is retiring.

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2 beth October 11, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Did I write Police!? I better fix that!

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3 Resident October 11, 2018 at 2:18 PM

Funny! We are all human! :)

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4 arobrist October 11, 2018 at 4:11 PM

on the flipside these departures / retirements will save the town money because their replacements will be starting at a lower rate, will my taxes go down? we will see

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5 Resident October 11, 2018 at 10:39 PM

I for one am thrilled to see the Superintendent go. She should have been released when we lost half a million dollars under her watch. She has lost almost her entire administrative staff, some more than once and the old boy school committee members just sat by doing nothing. These are tell tale signs that something is seriously wrong. She will not be missed.

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6 Peter Stanley October 16, 2018 at 6:38 AM

When a government employee retires, we have a state pension system that allows them to collect 80% of their salary for LIFE. Southborough has approximately $19 million in unfunded pension’s. Pensions are calculated by taking the average of their three highest salary years. The state now has unfunded pensions in the billions.
This burden of debt will have a crushing impact on our ability to provide appropriate levels of core services. Our taxes will continue to rise until a new formula for determining state pensions changes.

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7 beth October 16, 2018 at 9:17 AM

Interesting. Can you point readers to where the data is on that figure, or where you got the number from?

It’s worth pointing out that the future-funding challenge is for more than just pensions. Back in 2013, I covered a Board of Selectmen discussion about the challenges related to OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits). OPEB includes life insurance premiums and healthcare premiums, plus any deferred-compensation arrangements. It was explained that the State requires allowing retirement plans at age 55 for municipal employees with 10 years service. Southborough can’t adjust that. And unlike pension plans, retiree welfare plans give financial incentives for retiring early – additional years of received benefits and extra time before Medicare kicks in.

Starting to put aside money for OPEB is something the Town has been working on. Steps they took are part of what they credited for the Town’s AAA municipal bond rating. But I don’t know how significant those steps are vs the overall future burden and I don’t know about future costs for actual pensions. I’m wondering if a commenter knowledgeable about the Town’s expenses budgeting could provide more insight. (I know there are a few out there.)

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8 Al Hamilton October 17, 2018 at 9:20 AM

I do not have the exact figures at hand but here is the situation as I understand it:

There are really 2 unfunded/underfunded liabilities. Pensions and Benefits. In both cases the town is trying to make “Catch Up” payments over a long period of time (25 years or so). What this really means is that current taxpayers are paying for services rendered long ago.

Pensions are managed by 2 separate organizations. Municipal workers are covered by the Worcester County retirement system and School workers are covered by the State Teachers Pension. Both are “underwater”

Benefits are separate. I will have to do some research on this item.

Peter is correct about the impact of early retirement. Because of the way that we keep our books, an employee retiring at 55 looks like a good deal to an individual department which can replace that experienced employee with a new employee at lower wages. Nowhere in the departmental accounting does the cost supporting the cost the retired employee appear. This leads to very bad decisions.

The existence of very generous retirement benefits is one of the things that makes employment by the town appealing to some people. This model, however, is close to 50 years out of date and will have to change at some point. Employees are in fact taking a hidden risk. An employee retiring at 55 is taking the risk that the Town will remain solvent and prosperous for the next 30+ years. This is probably a good bet but it ties their economic future to a single entity.

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