By Beth David
Jeff Osuch, Fairhaven’s former long-time Executive Secretary, took time out from his retirement job on Friday, 5/27, to join town officials at the formal dedication of the Jeffrey W. Osuch Public Works Building.
The naming of the public works administration building on Arsene Street is a fitting tribute to the man who oversaw its construction, and whose first job with the town was with the DPW as superintendent.
At the dedication, which included a ribbon cutting and a few speeches on the lawn under the sign, Mr. Osuch recalled how he was only 28 years old when he got the job. He had to supervise people twice his age.
He also said that it took three years to get town meeting to approve the building, which was finished the same month his mother died, in June of 1983.
He said there were, and are, a “lot of dedicated employees,” and that nothing gets done by one person.
“It’s a team effort,” said Mr. Osuch. “I do make lists. I still make lists.”
He said his philosophy of “staying on budget, staying on time, and getting things done, is just part of the job.”
He thanked his family, especially his wife Deborah, for allowing him the time away from home to do the job the way he did it.
He recounted how he left the hospital when his son Tommy was born to go sand and salt during an ice/snowstorm.
He still recalls the look on the nurse’s face after he broke out laughing when she told him the police department was on the phone. He had, of course, thought there was something wrong with his baby or his wife. So when the nurse said it was just the police department with an urgent plea for him to call, he was relieved, and he knew exactly what it was about: The storm.
State Rep. William Straus, Selectboard chair Charles Murphy, Selectboard member Bob Espindola, former DPW superintendent Fred Raphael, current DPW superintendent Vinnie Furtado, and Selectboard administrative assistant Anne O’Brien, praised Mr. Osuch for his dedication, his work ethic, his patience with new people and his knowledge.
“I wasn’t going to miss this,” said Rep. Straus, who praised Mr. Osuch as “one of those guys who gets things done.”
He said naming the DPW building after Mr. Osuch was a “fantastic gesture.”
Mr. Espindola said it was appropriate because, “You can take the Executive Secretary out of public works, but you can’t take public works out of the Executive Secretary.”
“It all started here,” said Mr. Espindola, and it’s come back to that point.
Mr. Furtado said that Mr. Osuch got things done, and that he was involved in every building project in the town during his tenure. Mr. Furtado added that the public works building was a good choice because even after Mr. Osuch became the town’s Executive Secretary, “He was still a public works guy.”
“He was just holding another position,” said Mr. Furtado.
Mr. Murphy praised Mr. Osuch’s “endless dedication,” and noted how he would still plow the streets, up until his retirement.
“He was nonstop as executive secretary,” said Mr. Murphy. “Jeff’s legacy is living on in Fairhaven.”
Mr. Osuch said he appreciated the accolades, but it was all part of the job.
His first big task was to streamline operations at the DPW and that meant getting all the offices in one place. The original plan had been to put the police department there, too.
Mr. Osuch pointed to the wall that has his sign on it, and said that is where the police department was supposed to begin. So….if the town ever decides to put the PD there…
“All the utilities are still on this wall,” he said.
Mr. Osuch also recalled his job interview. All but one of those board members are now gone. He said he really thought he had “blown” the interview.
“I guess I hadn’t,” he said.
He worked for the town for 38 years in total, with 28 years as Executive Secretary. “They kept renewing my contract, for whatever reason.”
Mr. Osuch, 66, retired at the end of last year, and is now the property manager at Round Hill in Dartmouth.
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