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Public Works Director Ken Merrill retires

Highway department restructured

After 16 years of dedicated service Ken Merrill, Killington's longtime public works director, plans to retire at the end of December.  The recent announcement was made by Killington Town Manager Seth Webb, who also revealed the Town's plan to restructure the highway department.

Prior to working for the Town of Killington, Ken Merrill was a co-owner of Merrill's Garage.  During his tenure with the Highway Department he spent countless late nights and early mornings monitoring and clearing roads in all conditions, from ice to snow to mud to dust.  Through the years Ken oversaw and helped manage several major roadway projects including the East Mountain Road reconstruction, construction of a new Town Garage, construction of the Killington Road sidewalk, and rebuilding of nearly 20 miles of roadway that was damaged during Tropical Storm Irene.

"Ken has been a steady hand, trusted and respected by residents and co-workers alike," says Webb. "His easy demeanor, can-do attitude and exemplary dedication has earned him the respect of the town and made him a role model for employees. He will be sorely missed."

A native of Killington, Ken and his wife Cathy have three children.

Following Merrill's departure, the Town will restructure the Highways Department to include facilities management to ensure it continues to meet the Selectboard's goal of providing dependable and efficient municipal services.

Chester (Chet) Hagenbarth has been named as the new highway and facilities director, responsible for all highways, facilities and grounds. The Town will look to its Highway Crew veterans, including Rick Bowen, to take on increased responsibilities as the new management team takes shape.

The Department's scope of work will be expanded to include maintenance of all Town facilities and grounds, including all buildings, the transfer station, lighting, equipment, walkways, wells, septic systems, parks and green spaces, recreation areas, and all contractors. The department will also take a larger role in handling its own administration and planning.

As the administrative head of the new highway and facilities department, Chet Hagenbarth will handle budgeting, planning, training, procurement, contracts, contracting and policy. A resident of Killington since 1996, Chet brings over 30 years of experience to the position, including facilities maintenance, construction management, planning, engineering, budgeting and administration.

Prior to launching his own consulting business, Chet spent over a decade managing a multitude of civil engineering, construction and facilities management projects in New Hampshire, first as Project Manager for Pathways Consulting, then as Director of Operations for Holden Engineering, and also as Director of Property Management for Valley Regional Hospital. His experience spans every level of the construction process from concept to completion, including Feasibility Studies, Design Development, Budget Development and Administration, Contract Development and Administration, Regulatory Permit Acquisition (Local, State, and Federal,) Environmental Impact Studies, and much more. He has guided projects within the commercial, institutional and healthcare sectors. His experience brings a heightened level of capacity to the department.

Town Manager Seth Webb says the new structure will work within the existing budget while looking ahead to the future of the department. "Chet will help us seek additional efficiencies in management, contracting, procurement, and shared services across departments and other facilities as well as leverage federal and state funds and formalize road management policies.  We need to consider the best way to manage the department as additional senior staff nears retirement in upcoming years. Chet will ultimately help ensure we deliver the best service to residents and tourists during this transition."

To ensure a smooth transition into the new role, Hagenbarth started on Dec. 6 working alongside Ken Merrill for the month of December.