Executive Interview Series: October Edition

Executive Interview Series: October Edition

For a public employee, no two days are alike. Just ask Lynn Sadosky, Director of Public Works for the Town of North Haven Connecticut. With decades of public service on her resume, she has seen it all. In this interview, she discusses the challenges facing town governments, what the Town of North Haven is doing to meet those challenges, and what makes for a successful construction project.

“Having a reliable, affordable and communicative contractor you can trust makes all the difference.”

Lynn Sadosky

What is North Haven, Connecticut like?

The Town of North Haven is a thriving suburban community of approximately 24,000 residents. With accessible transportation to New Haven, Hartford, and points beyond, North Haven enjoys a strong and diverse economic base; convenient residential neighbors; and easy access to commercial, educational, historic and open spaces.

What do you like about your job? 

My heart has always been in public service. The Public Works Department adds so much value to a person’s everyday life from roadway repairs to trash and recycling collection to sanitary sewer system operation. Safety is a focus for all Public Works employees and we’re often on the front line for weather emergencies.

I truly believe ‘I work for the taxpayer,’ and my work product is important. I have been the North Haven Director of Public Works for 10 years now, and I’ve loved the position from the start. The challenges keep me interested, satisfied and fulfilled.

What are some of those challenges?

We have noticed a trend where the public relies more and more on local government and their workers. At the same time, we are asked to do more with less—less employees, less money, less benefits—compared to prior years.

Cuts in funding at the state level trickle down to local governments who often cut Public Works Departments first. We’re facing decreasing capital and expense budgets while maintaining the same services or delivering a higher level of services.

How does the Town of North Haven ensure it meets residents’ needs? 

North Haven municipal leaders listen to its residents, business owners and taxpayers. We communicate in-person and electronically, and we still believe in the Town Meeting form of government where everyone has a say. It may seem old fashioned to some, but it works for North Haven.

Have there been any significant changes in North Haven in the past few years? 

North Haven’s construction industry is booming! With the arrival of the Amazon distribution center scheduled to open in May of 2019 along with many other educational, pharmaceutical and service-related businesses, we are doing all we can to keep up, remain progressive and place our customers first! Our Building Department has more than doubled its revenues in the past year due to the number of permits issued for construction activities. It’s all positive for North Haven. The explosion of construction growth employs more residents, creating more tax revenue the town can use to tackle capital projects.

With all of this construction growth, how are you ensuring these projects are successful?

Having a reliable, affordable and communicative contractor you can trust makes all the difference. Using cooperative purchasing networks saves us time and provides us peace of mind by vetting contractors. Many Public Works Managers or Directors lack the time to prepare complete bid specifications, review scopes closely and follow-up on municipal references. Going with a cooperative for construction procurement often allows for timelier project startup.

What’s a recent project you completed using a cooperative purchasing network?

We had a tight timeframe for construction of our Sanitation and Recycling Equipment Storage Building. We were losing our lease for an existing building and winter was setting in, so we needed indoor storage ASAP. We utilized ezIQC® [a Job Order Contracting solution] through CRCOG and completed work ahead of schedule and on budget. We worked with a terrific contractor, Pat Munger Construction, and we even won an award for the project. Time savings is the biggest benefit of using ezIQC, and cost is a big benefit too as the bids are always competitively executed.

Why should others consider a career in public works? 

Public Works and public service overall is rewarding because almost everything you do makes a positive difference in taxpayers’ lives! I am thanked by our residents daily; I attend meetings and work hard for the taxpayers and whether it’s preparing bid specifications for a new playground, replacing a roof on a historic building or purchasing open space for our hikers and nature lovers, the work is varied and extremely gratifying. Public Works offers so many different types of work—it’s interesting, it’s hard work and it’s fun and rewarding—all in the same breath!

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About Lynn Sadosky, P.E.

Lynn Sadosky, P.E. attended the L.C. Smith College of Engineering at Syracuse University and graduated from the Civil Engineering Program. She began her career in water supply and wastewater treatment and has worked for public entities and private design consultants. Lynn spent 14 years with the City of New York and has served as the Director of Public Works for the Town of North Haven for more than 10 years. Her passion is the outdoors. In the winter months, Lynn loves to ski, and in the warmer months she loves to hike, mountain bike and sail.