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N. Tonawanda to get new highway chief ; Rowles set to fill vacancy March 29, a day after he leaves his Town of Tonawanda post

Town of Tonawanda Highway Superintendent Bradley A. Rowles is in line to be the new public works chief in the City of North Tonawanda, Mayor Robert G. Ortt announced Tuesday.

Rowles, who has been Tonawanda highway and sanitation chief since 2003 and a highway employee in the town since 1978, was one of 20 who applied for the North Tonawanda job.

Rowles still faces the Common Council. He fills the vacancy created after longtime Superintendent Gary J. Franklin retired at the end of 2010.

Rowles, 54, is expected to earn $82,340 a year in the new post. He was to earn $87,074 in the town job this year.

Rowles would oversee a department with fewer employees and a smaller budget than the one he currently heads.

He expects to start on the job March 29, the day after he retires from his Town of Tonawanda post, Rowles told The Buffalo News.

Rowles said he is "excited about going to a new department" and described himself as a "hands-on, face-to-face kind of guy."

"I enjoy working with the residents," he told The News. "The residents in the Town of Tonawanda have been tremendous to me."

Rowles was initially hired as a laborer and worked in various other jobs, including mechanic, crew chief and mechanic shop foreman.

A registered Republican, he was appointed town highway superintendent in August 2003 following the death of Superintendent John G. Hedges and was elected to that post in a special election later that year. He has twice been re-elected highway superintendent.

Rowles was one of eight candidates interviewed and was one of the last three remaining candidates.

"Brad brings the right combination of experience, demonstrated leadership and innovative thinking that our taxpayers demand and expect for this position," Ortt said in a statement.

"And I think he'll be a great fit for our city's government."

The North Tonawanda department has a $5.6 million budget and about 75 employees.

The town department presently has a $10.2 million budget and 115 employees, Rowles said.

Franklin, a 35-year public works employee in North Tonawanda, had been superintendent for 30 years.

Rowles will be meeting with acting Public Works Superintendent Mike Guidotti before his start date as part of the transition process, Ortt said.

At least a portion of a group of city officials conducted interviews with the eight candidates. The officials included Ortt, City Engineer Dale W. Marshall, as well as Aldermen Eric M. Zadzilka, Richard L. Andres Jr. and Dennis M. Pasiak.

e-mail: abesecker@buffnews.com

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