He Brings 24 Years NY DOT Experience
By JIM KEVLIN • for www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Bill Mason, the retired DOT engineer who has served as interim county highway superintendent for the past four months, was appointed to a four-year term yesterday by the Otsego County Board of Representatives.
He succeeds Ron Tiderencel, who retired in April.
In an interview this morning, Mason said his first order of business will be to develop an “asset management program,” assessing the priorities for paving, sign replacement and major culverts. He noted staffing in the highway department is one-third of its peak, and equipment needs attention, and that the county board has voiced support for a four-year program of renewal.
The county Highway Department is also working with the county Planning Department on transfer-station maintenance, and will be participating in the construction of the county’s collaboration with Solar Cities on a solar-energy farm. Work on that project in Laurens is due to begin this month, with completion in October, Mason said.
While he was in an interim role, the department completed a major repaving of Route 47, from Emmons to the county line, and a culvert project on Route 18, Town of Pittsfield.
Mason retired from the state DOT at the Civil Engineer One level. The earlier part of his career was focused on bridge repair and replacement, but when in Region 9, the Binghamton-based district that includes Otsego County, was found to have “the worst pavement scores in the state,” he was assigned to the paving division to fix it.
In that capacity, he tried “everything,” working with suppliers and contractors to upgrade materials and processes. By the time he was done, he said, the region had the best paving scores in the state.
Previously, he worked for Lane Corp., Green Island and other private construction firms.
The county board’s Public Works Committee, chaired by freshman Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, conducted the search effort, and Mason was interviewed by the whole board before its September meeting Wednesday. He brought a three-ring binder containing more than 40 certifications and commendations received over the years.
Oberacker cited Mason’s “really strong background when it came to pavement management. We were looking at it from an assessment-management perspective. Our roads are an asset.” Two other candidates were “well-credentialed and good. When it came to that one aspect, Bill really rose above.”
The chairman called the search a team effort, and praised his committee members, Keith McCarty, R-East Springfield, Dan Wilber, R-Burlington Flats, Jim Powers, R-Butternuts, and David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield, for their participation and support.
Mason was raised in Schenevus, and now lives in New Lisbon. His wife, Debbie, is also a retired DOT engineer. Son CJ runs his own business, Mason Lawn Care; daughter Erin is an assistant bank manager, and has just joined Pennsylvania-based Wayne Bank, which has opened a branch in Liberty and is looking to expand into the region.