Westerlo Highway Super to retire, deputy to take his place

Westerlo's top officials: Supervisor Dick Rapp and Highway Superintendent Keith Wright.

WESTERLO — Westerlo’s highway superintendent will be retiring at the end of this month, passing the torch to his deputy superintendent, who will have to run in November to keep the post.

Applause for Highway Superintendent Keith Wright accompanied the announcement at Tuesday’s town board meeting that Wright will be retiring on June 29. Wright, who is 62, said he wants to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. He has worked for the town highway department for 23 years, and has served as its superintendent for six years.

Deputy Highway Superintendent Jody Ostrander will serve in his place. Ostrander has worked in the highway department as long as Wright; he started in January of 1994 and Wright began in June of that year. Ostrander has also been the deputy superintendent for the two prior superintendents — John Nevins and Wright’s brother, Keith — totaling 15 years as deputy.

Ostrander said he will emphasize his experience as deputy superintendent when campaigning, noting he’s been working in the office as well as on the road. Wright told The Enterprise on Monday that Ostrander had been responsible for filing paperwork for Westerlo to receive federal aid for costs associated with Winter Storm Stella while Wright was away.

Ostrander, like Wright, is a Democrat, and plans to run on that party line. More Westerlo residents are enrolled as Democrats than in any other party. Ostrander has also been interviewed by members of the Independence Party and the Conservative Party, but has not yet been endorsed by either party.

Ostrander said he plans to “keep on going how we’ve been going.”

“And hope for more CHIPS money,” he added, referring to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, in which the New York State Department of Transportation provides funds to municipalities to support repairs of local roads.

Wright said that a new highway department employee will have to be hired upon his retirement.

Town Councilmen William Bichteman and Joseph Boone, and Town Judge Kenneth Mackey will also be running to keep their seats this fall.

 

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