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North Hempstead Town highway chief resigned in July after four months on the job

As highway superintendent, Richard Baker oversaw the maintenance

As highway superintendent, Richard Baker oversaw the maintenance and repair of more than 280 miles of roads in North Hempstead Town. Photo Credit: Town of North Hempstead

Richard Baker, North Hempstead Town's superintendent of highways, has resigned four months after taking the job.

Baker, 63, resigned from his position on July 15. The Bayport resident joined the town on March 5 at an annual salary of $140,000 a year.

Baker’s departure makes him the fourth town official to leave a top-level position since December.

“We are fortunate now that Kevin Cronin is stepping in as acting superintendent,” said Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who declined to comment on what prompted Baker’s resignation.

Cronin, administrative assistant to Bosworth, will again be the interim superintendent starting on Aug. 24. His salary will remain the same at $101,480 a year.

Cronin and Joe Geraci, deputy commissioner of the Public Works Department, had taken turns serving as interim superintendent after Baker’s predecessor, Thomas Tiernan, resigned in 2016 amid an internal overtime investigation.

After Tiernan’s resignation, it took the town nearly three years to fill the position.

“It’s a tough job, and it is difficult [to fill],” Bosworth said. “You want to make sure you have the right person who has all the qualifications.”

The highway superintendent oversees the maintenance and repair of more than 280 miles of town roads, according to town documents. The roads chief is also in charge of snow removal, storm cleanup and acquisition and maintenance of town equipment.

Baker's departure came less than a month after the retirement of Jill Weber, the town’s Department of Parks and Recreation commissioner.

Before Weber, Deputy Town Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian left her job in January, and Town Attorney Elizabeth Botwin stepped down from her position in December.

Before joining the town, Baker was a special projects supervisor at Suffolk County Public Works Department. From 2012 to 2017, he worked as a fleet consolidation administrative manager for New York City’s Sanitation Department. Before that, he was a public works commissioner and highway superintendent for Islip Town for five years.

Baker could not be reached for comment. But after his hiring was announced, he said his new job was "the icing on the cake of my public works career" because it allowed him to return to his roots.

"I'm a Nassau County guy and I wanted to be back home," said Baker, a Merrick native whose first public sector job was with Hempstead Town. 

He said his first goal as superintendent was to address potholes on town roads. 

“We wish him well in his future endeavors,” town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said Tuesday in a statement.

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