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Did outgoing Hamburg highway superintendent ask his successor for a job?

Depending on whom you ask, Hamburg's outgoing highway superintendent offered his services to or asked for a job from the man who beat him on Election Day.

Either way, Highway Superintendent Tom Best Sr. will leave office at the end of the year and Ted Casey will take over Jan. 1.

Did Best ask for a job?

"I didn't quite do that," Best said.

The highway superintendent oversees the Highway Department and the Department of Buildings and Grounds. Best said the position of deputy superintendent of buildings and grounds has been open since his deputy retired in 2013. He said he suggested he could work there 19 hours a week, a part-time position paying $23,500.

"What I did was offer my services," Best said. "I'll help you out, when you think you've learned enough, out the door I go."

Casey beat Best, who was seeking a third full term, by 1,497 votes after a hard-fought campaign. Hiring Best was not an option, Casey said.

"I  think it's clear based upon the results that the electorate wanted change," Casey said, adding that in the interest of a smooth transition, he offered to hire Best as a consultant on a limited basis.

"You don’t see Obama walking the halls of the current administration," he said.

Best refused, saying he didn't want to be on call.

"He has to realize he doesn't know what he's doing today," Best said. "Tomorrow, he might know. He'll learn eventually."

It's not the first time someone has suggested filling the vacant deputy post. When Democrats took control of the Town Board in 2014, they tried to appoint former Assistant Police Chief Steven Mikac to the part-time job. A ruckus ensued, with some contending Mikac did not have the required qualifications for the civil service job, and he quit after two days.

Best said he used to think the highway superintendent's job was just paving and plowing roads, but discovered when he got in the office there was a lot more to it, including aging drainage infrastructure.

"I don't think anybody, including myself, including Ted Casey, realizes what it is when you walk in the door," he said.

Best said he was thinking of writing a letter to the Town Board to offer his expertise and services, because the board has oversight of the Buildings and Grounds Department.

Both men said they have faith in the current employees to keep the roads plowed over the winter, which will be Casey's first winter heading the department.

"Whether it be me next week or Ted Casey next month, let it snow, we're ready," Best said, adding, "I hope it don’t snow for 28 days, but if it does, we’ll be ready."


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