NORTH TONAWANDA – Longtime city employee William M. Davignon has been appointed to the top spot at the North Tonawanda Wastewater Treatment Plant .
The appointment was made by Mayor Arthur G. Pappas and confirmed by the Common Council. He took over on Jan. 5, replacing David A. Scott who retired after two years in the position.
Davignon, 51, is known in political circles, having served as Niagara County legislator in the 9th District from 2002 to 2005. He also served as a North Tonawanda School Board member from 2000 to 2002.
He worked for more than 28 years as a sanitary chemist in the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
“My experience being on the Legislature and the School Board was invaluable – they gave me management experience, but they were part time. I’ve been at the wastewater plant for 28 years,” he said.
Davignon also had been a union representative for CSEA for more than 20 years.
“I have a unique perspective from both ends,” he said.
Davignon served as chairman of the Legislature’s administration committee in 2003 and chairman of the parks, recreation and environment committee in 2002, as well as serving on the finance, social services and human resources committees. He said in his application for the position that he would bring his years of management, budget, labor and personnel experience to his new job.
He campaigned for the appointment, promising that as superintendent the departments will do a better job of finding outside financial resources, increasing efficiency and improving employee relations.
He said he would like to be more aggressive in getting grant money and other sources of funding.
Davignon said he also would like to develop a capital expenditure plan. He said in his short term on the Legislature he helped to hire a county manager and set up a mandatory savings plan for reserve funds.
“I have a long-term vision,” he said. “We need to lay this out for one, two, five, 10 and 20 years. I see myself as a CEO, not just someone who is operating the plant day to day. Someone has to look out for the long-term interests.”
Davignon said sometimes it will take some up-front expenditures to realize future savings. He said he has already started looking at replacing their old plant lights with LED lighting, which will save money in long term.