High city official takes town job

MERRIMACK – Richard S. Seymour Jr. has spent the last 27 years working just down the road.

Now, Nashua’s public works director will report to Merrimack to lead the town’s own public works department.

Town councilors approved Seymour’s hiring Thursday night after an extensive vetting process. They were working to replace Ed Chase, who left this summer for a position with an engineering firm in Manchester.

In the past few weeks, a search committee including Town Councilors Tom Mahon and Mike Malzone, Fire Chief Mike Currier, Police Chief Mike Milligan and community development Director Walter Warren vetted 10 candidates.

The committee then interviewed half of those, recommending two to Town Manager Keith Hickey. Hickey interviewed both and then offered the post to Seymour, who has spent the last five years at the helm in Nashua.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Seymour said Friday of the job change.

Seymour said he started looking for a new position last fall.

“I promised the previous mayor that I would finish out his term,” Seymour said.

Former Mayor Bernie Streeter completed his second term in office in January, when he was succeeded by Donnalee Lozeau.

Asked if the difference in management styles between Streeter and Lozeau factored into his decision to leave, Seymour replied, “No.”

In Merrimack, Seymour said he’ll be “starting from the ground up” and isn’t going into the job with any preconceived ideas about what should be his top priorities.

“I need to know what the basic issues are,” Seymour said. “I need to know who the players are.”

He said while he knows some of the department staff, he looks forward to getting to know the entire staff and town officials.

“Rick’s significant and broad experience in all aspects of public works will dovetail very nicely in addressing the current and future goals of the Merrimack Public Works Department,” Hickey said in a press statement. “Rick comes to Merrimack with the reputation of being an excellent administrator, collaborative leader, and a man with good common sense.”

“He’s . . . made a lot of technology in Nashua by means of increasing effectiveness and efficiency,” Mahon said Friday. “I think he brings a real biz approach and acumen to the job. He’s just not some dump truck and asphalt guy.”

In Nashua, Seymour earns just over $100,000. In Merrimack, he’ll make $93,500.

He noted that he has put in enough years in Nashua to get a pension, which he said was one reason for making the change now. Seymour’s last day on the job in Nashua will be Sept. 26, and he’s starting in Merrimack on Oct. 1.

“I’m not giving myself much of a break,” he said, adding Merrimack wanted him to start as soon as possible.

In town, he will take over a department with 70 employees and a $10 million budget.