With the recent announcement that City Engineer Robert Beshara will be retiring in March, the Department of Public Works will begin its search for his replacement starting next week, according to DPW Director John Scenna.
"As part of our restructuring over the past year, we knew this would come sooner or later," Scenna confessed. "Bob, as an individual, is going to be very, very difficult to replace. I’ve worked side-by-side with Bob for more than 10 years and his retirement will probably be missed most by me."
Mayor Announces Beshara's Plan to Retire
In a letter to the Melrose Board of Aldermen, Mayor Rob Dolan informed the board of Beshara's plan to retire.
"...Bob will go down as one of the great DPW directors and engineers in the history of Melrose," wrote Dolan. "He took on 100-year-old problems that most thought could never be solved and had resigned themselves to putting up with as part of living in Melrose. He inherited a DPW in which fire protection was a constant question mark. Our infrastructure was rotting, and we were losing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a year. He not only rebuilt the department but he transformed it again and again, both operationally and financially, to benefit the city.
"He changed Melrose, permanently and for the better, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude."
Beshara has worked 40 years as an engineer during his career, according to Dolan. He spent more than a decade working for the city of Melrose, according to Scenna.
Finding a Replacement
Scenna provided a brief overview of the steps he will take to find a new city engineer.
"We’ll start our advertisement period next week in hopes to get a new city engineer in place by April, which is the start of the new construction season for that group," Scenna said. "Bob is an exceptional person, a very detailed engineer and very passionate about his tasks. It was truly enjoyable being able to team up with him through his tenure and accomplish as much as we did. My goal now is to continue in that positive direction with his replacement."
With a restructuring plan in place, Scenna explained how the role of city engineer and also the DPW director position have changed.
"When Bob served as director, he served as director and city engineer. Now, his replacement will come in and only serve in the city engineer role," Scenna said, adding, "basically overseeing all of our capital improvement projects, day-to-day engineering, (interfacing) with the planning board and conservation commission and it will be a 100 percent focus on engineering tasks, whereas the balance of what Bob used to do is now in my position.
"We’re going to move on and we’ve made some restructuring in the department that what used to be all his responsibility is now spread out amongst other people."