Election 2017: Gary Salisbury for highway superintendent

Gary Salisbury

KNOX — Gary Salisbury, a Republican backed by both Democrats and Republicans, is running for an eighth term as highway superintendent.

Salisbury, 53, has been highway superintendent for the last 14 years, and has worked at the garage for 30 years. He started working there when he was 22.

“I didn’t feel things were going really well,” said Salisbury, of his time at the garage. He said he decided to run because of the poor conditions under the superintendent at the time.

During his time as superintendent, Salisbury said that he has improved many of the roads, doing base work on the roads, and taking better care of roads in the winter time. Salisbury also noted that he was able to upgrade highway equipment using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that was awarded following damages from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

When he started in 1987, Salisbury said the department had nine full-time employees. Currently there are six full-time employees at the garage, as well as one part-time employee who may be promoted following one of his full-time employee’s retirement.

Because of a shortage of employees, Salisbury often does roadwork himself. He also does paperwork and bills.

“You name it, I do it,” he said. He noted that the most difficult part is often the paperwork. Salisbury works without an assistant, and says items such as timecards, payroll, and billing take up much of his time.

In his time as highway superintendent, Salisbury has witnessed discussions of shared services before and notes that the debate about shared facilities and services continues.

“We do share services with other towns and sometimes with the county,” he said, but added that his employees, unlike the county workers, prefer to fix their equipment at their own garage rather than at the county’s main garage in Voorheesville.

However, he said that sharing health insurance is something he would like to continue looking into.

Salisbury said that he has found the upcoming 2018 budget to be similar to 2017, noting that there is new funding allocated for equipment. He is also concerned about issues surrounding the transfer station, such as increasing trash, and changes at the Rapp Road landfill that require his workers to spend more time hauling garbage there. He said that the town board should look into these issues.

“I think I’ve pretty much proven what I can and can’t do,” he said, of his work at the highway department. “We’ve done more with less.”

Salisbury said he also serves as vice president of the Patroon Land Farm in Knox, works with a group called Deer Search in which he does dog tracking, and plays bass guitar in the band Moonshine Junkies.

 

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