MERIDEN — Strolling across the sun-bathed bridge spanning the Meriden Green Thursday, Public Works Director Bob Bass stopped to take in the view of Harbor Brook, and surrounding developments.
”It’s rewarding to see it come together because you put so much time, energy, emotion into it,” Bass said. “When you see it put together you can say, ‘Wow, I was part of this.’”
Bass plans to retire later this year after helming the department for over a decade. His last day will be Sept. 4. After working for Milone & Macbroom as a consultant, Bass was hired by the city as associate engineer in 2003 and was promoted to Public Works director in 2007. In his 15 years of service, Bass has overseen the transformation of the former Hub site into the Meriden Green and pushed for flood control improvement projects along Harbor Brook.
The Meriden Green, designed by Milone & Macbroom, has been nationally recognized. Along with late community leader Phil Ashton, longtime chair of the Meriden Flood Control Commission, and others, Bass helped to make the vision for the Green a reality.
He submitted his letter of resignation May 18.
”I’m grateful I’ve been able to give back to my home town,” Bass said. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job.”
As of 2017, Bass earned a salary of $122,488 annually. Personnel Director Marci Nogueira did not return a request for Bass’ current salary and pension.
In retirement, Bass hopes to spend more time with his wife and maybe do some traveling. Mostly, though, he just wants a break from the fast-paced job he’s held for 11 years.
”I want to be able to sit back and relax a little bit,” said Bass, 65. “Smell the roses.”
Acting City Manager Ken Morgan said the city will be publicly posting the director position in July and will also consider internal candidates. The city hopes to hire someone within a month of Bass’ retirement to allow for a transition period, so the new director can become aquatinted with projects underway in the city.
”The projects he’s accomplished are quite extensive and his hands are still in a lot of projects and will be for quite a ways to come,” Morgan said.
City Council Majority Leader David Lowell praised Bass for his vision and tireless effort to improve city infrastructure.
”Bob has given his heart and soul to the city and leaves quite a legacy with the achievements of all of the engineering work that has gone into the flood control that led to the Meriden Green, which is currently the most visible product of his achievements,” Lowell said. “His passion and conviction for his job for the city are going to be missed.”
While it is unclear who will fill Bass’s shoes when he leaves his post in September, he hopes his successor will complete flood control work on Harbor Brook.
”This whole thing, I’ve made it my child,” Bass said. “Time to let my children go off to school and let someone else takeover.”
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