Person of the Week
Lynn Sadosky: Building on the Big Picture
Lynn Sadosky has seen bigger and bigger projects in her 10 years as North Haven’s director of Public Works. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier)
After 10 years on the job, Director of Public Works Lynn Sadosky has seen all manner of projects come through her department. She says watching the town develop is one of the best parts of her job.
She began work on Jan. 12, 2009 when, she says, the town did not have as many big developments coming through.
She came to work with 14 years of experience in New York City’s Bureau of Water Supply, and soon after she arrived Lynn was overseeing all kinds of projects in North Haven from sidewalks to solar power.
“We did projects like playscapes. We put in the Clintonville Elementary playscape, we did a playscape for 3rd- to 5th graders over at Montowese,” Lynn says.
Many of these infrastructure projects were completed with the help of Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grants awarded by the state. During her time with public works, Lynn says the state’s economic program has reduced the amount of aid they receive.
The challenge of managing a limited budget is one of the reasons she likes working in North Haven, however.
“I am an operations person,” Lynn says. “I love that end of things. I like the infrastructure.”
That’s the drive that got Lynn into public works in the first place. She earned a degree in engineering from Syracuse University and went from there.
“What’s fascinating to me is seeing the project get put out for design and specifications, getting it to a bid phase, and then watching it get built, then seeing how that project is used,” she says.
Seeing the new middle school go from construction to everyday use, for instance, is an exciting thing for her.
Lynn calls herself a “global thinker.” She considers the big picture of the future, a vision she says meshes well with town leadership.
“[First Selectman Mike Freda] is an economic driven individual...a big vision person,” she says. “I like movement, progress, vision, so we make a good team, he and I, for infrastructure.”
Public Works is at the front lines of North Haven’s development.
“We’re a part of the initial shaking hands, introductions, and why you want to come to North Haven, and getting it through the processes of approvals...into building, into construction,” Lynn says.
From her position, Lynn has seen the town change from projects as basic as new sidewalks to changes as drastic as the expansion of Quinnipiac University from a medium-sized school to a large one.
“Some of that is a vision that they had with [former president] Dr. [John] Lahey,” Lynn says. “Now there’s a new administration [Judy Olian] and she is just as global as he was...That’s what makes North Haven so successful in many ways.”
Lynn says that when she started in 2009, the department collected $175,000 a year in building permit fees, now it averages more than $1 million.
“That tells you how busy we are,” Lynn says. “We’ve gone from small everyday projects...to things like Amazon development.
“The hardest part about North Haven is you’re short staffed,” Lynn says. “You’re doing many, many things [wearing] many hats.”
That challenge is not unique to North Haven. With public works departments spanning projects from snow cleanup to planning and zoning, they’re always busy.
“I’ve always looked at us as a spider with many legs and without all the legs working together, we can’t move forward,” Lynn says. “I’m just a part of it...You can’t get things done without your staff.”
Most recently, the department has undertaken projects to put a new roof on the historical society building. Soon, the department will go forward with pouring the concrete for the new concessions building at the middle school and the rubber mat for the ADA-compliant Ridge Road playground.
Also coming up is the $13 million replacement of the Sackett Road bridge.
Another large ongoing project is an analysis of the town’s water outfalls to comply with 2017 Department of Energy & Environmental Protection regulations. This means sampling the water that drains from North Haven’s systems into natural bodies of water like the Quinnipiac River, countless streams, and, eventually, Long Island Sound.
North Haven has between 500 and 700 such outfalls to test.
“The goal of the whole program is to basically see our water quality increased and stop degradation if we can,” Lynn says. “I think it’s improved quite a bit since the years that we’ve been here.”
To nominate a Person of the Week, email Nathan Hughart at n.hughart@Zip06.com.