Kenneth Weaver, Berne highway superintendent candidate

Kenneth Weaver

BERNE — Berne was a summer home before it was permanent for Kenneth Weaver, a town employee for over three decades and its current highway superintendent. Weaver, a Democrat, has enrolled as a Republican and won Republican backing in the upcoming race for another four years.

“I believe in helping the people,” said Weaver. “I like to work for the town. I’ve done it for many years. I’ve had some issues with my supervisors, which I don’t agree with, so I’m trying to get back in to do some good.”

Weaver, 57, ran successfully on the Democratic line in the past and had the party’s endorsement, as well as Conservatives and the Independence Party, lined up before declining the nomination for retirement. He said he understood his agreement with current town board members to mean that his health insurance policy during retirement wouldn’t change in the future, but those board members told The Enterprise they could only promise their own votes. When Weaver was told his agreement wouldn’t be guaranteed the same indefinitely, he said, he pursued the Republican nomination.

During the past four years he has been superintendent, Weaver said he has overseen the town response to severe storms, a blizzard to tropical storms, and the ongoing paving of back roads.

“I’d like to repair a lot of the back dirt roads and try to pave more,” he said of a new term.

During the September town board meeting, Weaver produced his list of paving projects, which Supervisor Kevin Crosier said was late. Weaver told The Enterprise he had been laying stone to prepare roads for paving during the summer months before producing the road list.

“It’s not a procedure that happens overnight, it’s something, with us, that takes time,” said Weaver. “You can only do so much road in a day when you’ve got four guys, five guys.” One highway employee, Weaver said, works three days each week at the town transfer station.

Weaver said the town board’s role is to determine his budget. He hopes in a new term he would be given funding for a needed salt shed and new, above-ground fuel storage. Weaver said he would support a shared plan for a fueling station with the school district.

The town board has investigated sharing a salt shed with the Albany County Department of Public Works. Informal shared equipment and services with the county, Weaver said, is nothing new, but he opposes any formal agreement for a salt shed.

“I believe in two entities,” said Weaver. “In other words, if you put all your stock in one place and something breaks down, you’ve got nothing.” If the county is separate, Weaver said, he knows he can call on it for help.

Weaver said the highway department has been widening ditches and installing larger culverts, but he needs state approval for working in streambeds and is limited by the number workers he has.

“So, normal situations, everything we have is working,” said Weaver. “You’re talking an abnormal storm. So we’re trying to compensate for that. We’re trying to enlarge culverts and ditches, but it’s not going to happen overnight to prepare for another unbelievable storm. It’ll happen, but it takes time.”