New Salem begins search for new highway chief

The New Salem Highway Department.

The New Salem Highway Department. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By Max Bowen

Published: 02-27-2024 12:07 PM

Athol Daily News Editor

NEW SALEM — Finding a successor to former Highway Superintendent Jacob Cooley is expected to take at least a few months, according to Town Coordinator Kathy Neal.

Cooley resigned from the position a few weeks ago, said Neal, to take a position at Northern Tree. He had been in the role since 2019.

The Highway Department is staffed by a full-time superintendent and two full-time equipment operators/truck drivers, according to the town’s website. The department is responsible for all maintenance, snow removal, paving and improvements of town roads.

The town has appointed Tim Hunting as the interim highway superintendent. Hunting, a New Salem resident, will be in the role on a part-time basis and began a week after Cooley left, Neal said.

“He’s very knowledgeable, so we’re very lucky,” she said.

Hunting, who began his tenure in Shutesbury in September 1999, retired in the fall of 2023.

Neal said that Hunting had been the highway chief in Shutesbury for more than 20 years and was very familiar with New Salem’s roads as a longtime resident. She said job advertisements for the role will be out soon and that town officials hope to have someone hired within a few months, though there is some concern as to how many people will apply.

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“Last year we had to fill the two other employee (positions) at the highway dept and we didn’t get many applicants,” Neal said.

Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or