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Pound Ridge Daily Voice serves Pound Ridge, NY

Pound Ridge Gets New Highway Superintendent

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Vinnie Duffield was born to be a highway superintendent. His father worked for the Pound Ridge Highway Department until 1985 and Duffield has been with it for 24 years.

Last week, the town board made it official when it appointed Duffield to the head post.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted and I have worked towards it,” he said.

Duffield, 43, has lived in Pound Ridge for 30 years. He grew up in neighboring South Salem. He started in the highway department as a laborer and truck driver – a mechanical equipment operator is the official title – and worked his way up to foreman.

When Billy Schelling resigned from the highway superintendent’s post two years ago, Councilman Richard Lyman stepped in on an interim basis as a “highway administrator” while Duffield took his civil service exam. Once he passed the exam, Lyman stepped down at last week’s town board meeting and the board appointed Duffield as superintendent.

As Duffield takes over the reins of the department, he said the biggest challenge facing him is the economy and the fiscal challenges town officials face in keeping the budget in line.

“When I first started there were 14 people on staff,” he said. “Now, there are 10.”

That means Duffield needs to learn how to do more with less. He said his biggest concern is the highway department budget. He wants to be able to maintain the same level of service that Pound Ridge residents are used to. He noted the cost of materials is always rising.

“Black top is a big issue,” he said. “It has really gotten expensive. Plus, there’s the price of gas. We have to buy it like everyone else.”

With a smaller staff, he said, each highway department worker has to pull a little more weight.

“The biggest challenge is in the winter – each route gets bigger because everyone has to take on a little more when we are sanding and plowing,” he explained. “In the summer you can get stuff done a little more easily.”

Duffield said that in the summertime, the department likes to finish its major project before the opening of school, which is something it has accomplished this year.

“We paved a half-mile of Trinity Pass and micro-surfaced a little over a mile of Dann Farm Road,” he said. “That’s kind of like resealing a driveway. It seals it and protects it from water.”

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