New public works manager hired
by Phil Ambroziak
Darwin Schwartz has traded his seat at the RM council table for an office at the municipality’s public works garage.
Schwartz, who was elected Division IV councillor in a July by-election, recently resigned from his post to become the RM’s new public works manager. He officially began his new job Dec. 1.
“The position became available, so I decided I’d like to put my résumé in,” Schwartz explained. “I’ve dealt with people for more than 30 years in my various jobs – it’s something I like doing. So far I’ve been doing a lot of paperwork, but I also check over all the equipment and help the men get the machinery operating for day-to-day use. It’s been pretty good so far.”
Schwartz replaces former public works manager Allen Willick who resigned in September. Willick was hired after long-time RM employee Doug Murray retired earlier this year.
Prior to accepting the full-time position, Schwartz worked for Lamon Disposal Ltd. as a heavy duty mechanic. He also worked for the City of Meadow Lake’s public works department for three years following a stint with Provincial Parks.
“This is kind of a little more of a challenge,” he added. “Now, I’m responsible for keeping the RM roads open and, if a ratepayer calls, I have to investigate their concern to determine how serious it is.”
One of the bigger obstacles Schwartz is anticipating is the annual spring run-off and the havoc sometimes caused when rural roads are submerged in water.
“I’ll be responsible for dealing with that too,” he said. “Flooding of roads and culverts is something that usually happens someway or another every year.”
His recent tenure as an RM councillor may have been brief, but it wasn’t a role Schwartz was unfamiliar with prior to the July 24 vote. He served as Division IV councillor for several years before losing his seat to former councillor Gerald
Zerr in the last regular RM election. Schwartz was voted back into office following Mr. Zerr’s passing, but his recent departure now means the RM will have to schedule another by-election.
According to reeve Rodger Zuchotzki, that won’t take place until some time in the New Year. The reeve also said he’s confident Schwartz has the necessary skills and background to succeed in his new role.
“He’ll make sure the equipment is safe and the roads are safe for our ratepayers,” Zuchotzki said. “He’ll also address concerns raised by ratepayers and, if he’s unable to make a judgement call himself, he’ll bring the concern to our administrator and then to council.”