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Candidates come forward for Conway roads job

CONWAY — The Board of Selectmen, a representative of the Personnel Committee and freshly retired Highway Superintendent Robert Baker Monday night interviewed four candidates to fill Baker’s shoes.

Candidates were Christopher Radzuik, 41, of Erving; Walter Piekarski, 35, of Greenfield, Mark Bernier, 51, of Turners Falls and Ron Sweet, 54, of Conway.

Radzuik said he had worked in the Bernardston Highway Department for almost eight years and now works for Rubin’s Auto Service in Turners Falls, with previous supervisory experience working in a package store.

Radzuik said he is not a certified mechanic, but graduated from the Franklin County Technical School’s automotive program and was in charge of equipment maintenance for a time in Bernardston.

Asked about his experience with budgeting and with the state’s Chapter 90 road work reimbursement program, Radzuik said he has little with either but has strong math skills and is rusty with computers but can get by.

“I bring my age, I’m old enough now to know where I want to put my cards, I’m still young somewhat, got a good back; I’m strong; I’m healthy, the hours don’t bother me,” Radzuik said.

Piekarski said he has worked for about six months in the parks and forestry department of the Greenfield Department of Public Works and has previous work experience in landscaping, including informal supervisory work, holds an associate’s degree in business and is comfortable with computers.

His experience with road construction is mainly on the residential side, he said, with work on driveways and associated drainage. Piekarski said he does not have experience with Chapter 90.

Bernier said he was highway superintendent in the town of Huntington for three winters beginning in May 1993 after 20 years in the military, worked briefly for the Shelburne Highway Department then worked as a truck driver for 15 years.

As superintendent, Bernier was in charge of a two-man crew, clearing roads and paving in increments although most road construction was contracted out, he said.

“I’ve been out of it for 20 years but it’s like riding a bike, I think I can catch on quick,” Bernier said.

Bernier said he was in charge of what was at the time the second or third largest motor pool in the world while stationed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba and is not used to computers beyond typing letters.

Following the interviews, Sweet said he has worked for the Conway Highway Department as assistant road boss for three years, and has run an excavating business for more than 20 years.

Sweet’s interview was held first, with interviews beginning half an hour before the time provided at an earlier meeting. The Recorder was not present.

Conducting the interviews were Baker, Town Administrator Ed MacDonald, Heather Rose of the Personnel Committee and Selectmen John O’Rourke, Jim Moore and Rick Bean.

The three out-of-town candidates were asked how they would monitor Conway road conditions given their relative geographic removal.

Radzuik said he wouldn’t have a problem coming in early to make sure the department was ready, would monitor weather reports and possibly rely on local employees. Bernier said he would watch the weather report, and Piekarski said he is a renter, so relocating would be an option and he would drive through to check in the meantime.

O’Rourke said a hiring decision would not be made that night, and the board would have to discuss when to do so.

Selectmen appointed Baker as a temporary consultant following the interviews, according to O’Rourke.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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