Town workers praised for fast move
Town employees were hailed Monday for their teamwork and efficiency the previous weekend in making the move from the historic Town Hall on Narragansett Avenue to temporary quarters in the townowned building at the golf course, across from the police station.
Town Administrator Bruce Keiser and Town Councilman William Kelly each heaped rave reviews on the workers for the speed and resourcefulness of the their efforts and success. The move was necessitated by the plan to construct a new Town Hall complex that includes the existing Town Hall on Narragansett Avenue. The 10 months needed to build the new complex is due to start next Monday, Oct. 2, with the moving of the old Town Hall to make way for the foundation work for relocation of the old structure, and the creation of the new attached twostory building designed by local architect William Burgin. When the old Planning Office building in the rear of the property, on West Street will be razed will depend on whether it is safe to be used as a construction office.
Keiser reported that the offices of the town clerk, building and zoning departments, tax assessor, and the planning department relocated successfully to the former country club. "They are functioning at full capacity," he said.
"The move was accomplished with a great deal of co-operation and teamwork among the administrative staff and with the talent, skill and effort of the highway division. Town staff worked tirelessly to dismantle and box up their entire offices in preparation for the move and then put in extra hours over the weekend to ensure that the offices would be up and running on scheduled," Keiser reported.
He said Town Engineer Michael Gray and Town Planner Lisa Bryer "ably oversaw the planning for the temporary Town Hall and Mike directed the extensive renovations, which almost overnight converted raw space into a functioning office delivering services to the public."
Keiser cited Gray's leadership and practical work in creating partitions for far less than the $16,000 the town had been quoted for a commercial system that was under consideration. "They all did an absolutely amazing job. They pulled together. They did it with good cheer," Keiser remarked. The town also saved significant funds over a commercial mover by renting a U-Haul trailer, having town workers load and unload it, and running several trips for the great move.
The town administrator also credited the town's information
technology manager, Donald Haskell, with handling the technology links with both Verizon and Cox Communications to ensure that phone and Web services were available for the re-opening of office activities. Keiser added that Jack's Electric deserved mention for its expeditious assistance in rewiring the building to accommodate the power needs to serve each of the offices that have taken up residence at the golf course site.
Councilman Kelly said, "I would like to make it very clear how extremely pleased I was with the effort by our town employees" for the move. "There was such a can-do attitude on the part of those involved that the community can be very proud of its employees. I stopped in a number of times to see what progress was being made, and each and every time there was a demonstration of effort that they were going to get the job done" in five days, as planned.
Kelly cited Bryer painting, Gray running the chop saw and handing off 2-by4s to Steve Bonner and Ramon Ibarlucea, and Ron Parfitt leading his crew to "getting the whole place painted." Then Kelly noticed one potential problem, not
a reflection on any worker - there was no adequate covering for the former dance floor area, which would be bearing a lot of office traffic. The councilman really wanted to be more than a sidewalk superintendent, but he was still on recuperation limits because of a recent surgery.
After checking with the town administrator, Kelly volunteered use of his credit card to get wholesale commercial-grade carpeting from Home Depot. The episode led to the council authorizing a review of the need and policies that would be necessary to establish a town credit card for such unplanned expenditures. The council will vote on such a system at a future meeting. This week the council approved reimbursement to Kelly for his credit card. Meanwhile, workers Bill Page and Brian Dutra installed the carpeting and their colleagues Tom Lathan and Andrew Munafo "pitched in, and there was none of that 'it's not my job' routine, and everyone was really breaking a sweat and Kevin Deacon just kept making it happen," Kelly said.