Barlow appoints 1st new city engineer in 50 years

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow, above left, welcomes newly appointed city engineer Jeffrey Hinderliter

OSWEGO — The Port City is a city with an engineer for the first time in more than five years.

Mayor Billy Barlow announced the appointment of Jeffrey Hinderliter as city engineer on Tuesday. Hinderliter would be the first city engineer in Barlow’s tenure and the first to hold the position since long-time city engineer Anthony Leotta retired in May 2014 after more than four decades at the helm.

According to a city press release, Hinderliter previously worked for state Department of Transportation and Department of State as a professional engineer, managing infrastructure projects, performing technical research, writing engineering reports and drafting proposed code language. Barlow said Tuesday he’s pleased to appoint Hinderliter to the position and looks forward to working with him in the future, adding having a certified engineer on staff would be “extremely beneficial” to city government.

“Mr. Hinderliter’s vast experience designing roads, bridges and other pieces of public infrastructure, along with his technical work with building code language, will suit our community perfectly as we continue to invest in our public infrastructure to improve our community,” the mayor said.   

Hinderliter, who takes over as the city is in the middle of a federally mandated sewer separation project and confronting other infrastructure issues, expressed appreciation for the confidence Barlow has placed in him by offering the opportunity to serve the city.

“I am excited to take on the challenges facing out city’s infrastructure and will do my best to serve this community,” said Hinderliter, who upon being hired moved from Ilion to Oswego with his wife and three children.

Following Leotta’s retirement in 2014, the city engineer position was offered to at least two individuals who turned it down before then-mayor Tom Gillen said officials were “rethinking the whole position.” Robert Johnson, a long-time city employee and engineer technician had essentially been performing the duties in recent years while the city consulted with outside firms when necessary.

Johnson is planning to retire next year, and city leaders decided to recruit and hire a certified licensed engineer to fill the position. Barlow previously said Johnson’s institutional knowledge and years of experience allowed the city to operate without the position.

In anticipation of Johnson’s retirement, Barlow’s 2020 budget restored the position of city engineer and allocated up to $152,000 for engineering salaries.

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