Essex County chooses new DPW chief - Press-Republican: Local News

Essex County chooses new DPW chief

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Posted: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 3:28 am | Updated: 7:31 pm, Fri Aug 15, 2014.

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County supervisors voted to offer the post of Department of Public Works superintendent to Chris Garrow.

From Jay, Garrow is currently both highway superintendent and Department of Public Works director for the towns of Jay and AuSable Forks.

The decision made by the Ways and Means Committee on Monday opens room for salary discussion.

The committee, including supervisors from all 18 Essex County towns, went into executive session for about 25 minutes to discuss the job opening.


Garrow was in the gallery and after the meeting said he would welcome the offer.

“I want to work hard for the county,” he said.

But the Jay Town Council is reluctant to see him leave, according to Town Supervisor Randy Douglas, who is also chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors.

Garrow said he plans to talk to each Town Council member in Jay before the leaving his current post.

“They want to keep me. There are seven projects going out to bid this spring. But this is a great position, and I don’t want to turn my back on it,” he said.

The projects involve ongoing repair work since Tropical Storm Irene, but all the planning on the projects is complete.

“Honestly, I hate to lose Chris,” Douglas said. “We’ve worked together for 10 years, through nine states of emergency and three federal (disaster area) declarations. He rose to the occasion every time. We have a great team effort in Jay.

“But I do think it would be the county’s gain.”


County DPW Superintendent Anthony LaVigne is retiring on May 30 after working for Essex County for 30 years.

He has no plan to leave the workforce. At 56, he plans to work in the private sector.

“It’s become more of a chore,” he said of the DPW superintendent’s job. “It’s reached a point where it’s not fun anymore. I’ve always said if the job wasn’t fun anymore, it is time to move on.”


LaVigne was hired in January 2010 as Fred Buck retired after 15 years.

The SeeThrough New York database shows LaVigne was paid $75,720 in 2010; $87,329 in both 2011 and 2012. He earned $87,718 from the county last year.

Garrow was hired as Town of Jay highway superintendent in 2001. He earned $53,453 working for the Town of Jay in 2013, according to the state salary database.

He has also served as the vice president of the Essex County Highway Superintendent Association and is a member of the Clinton County Highway Superintendent Association, the New York State Highway Association, American Water Works Association, New York State Rural Water Association, New York Water Environment Association and the Cornell University Local Roads “Road Master” Program.

Email Kim Smith