FRANKLIN – After 13 years as director of the Department of Public Works, Robert "Brutus" Cantoreggi is moving on to become the town administrator in Norfolk.
The announcement was made Wednesday during the Town Council meeting, where council members praised Cantoreggi's work and wished him luck. As DPW director, the 53-year-old has been directly accountable to the town administrator and Town Council for issues regarding engineering, highways, grounds, solid waste, recycling, street lighting, and water and sewer.
Cantoreggi, town officials said, has been the longest-tenured DPW director in town history.
In Norfolk, the Millis resident will replace Jack Hathaway, who left on Dec. 1 after 15 years.
The DPW under Cantoreggi has thrived in water and sewer management, storm water control as well as creating the Sculpture Park and, most recently, the Veterans Memorial.
“We’ve done a lot here,” said Cantoreggi. “The DPW is recognized by the state. We’ve won numerous awards for having one of the best water programs in the state.”
Franklin Town Administrator Jeff Nutting said Cantoreggi’s efforts have been paramount. In addition, Nutting said, he’s always kept his colleagues upbeat.
“He used to wear some funny clothes during the holidays,” Nutting laughed. “He’d come in dressed up, wearing a top hat. He had different outfits for different seasons. It was always a treat. He always kept us laughing.”
Nutting said the hiring process for a new DPW director will begin as soon as Cantoreggi finishes contract negotiations with Norfolk. Cantoreggi said he’s expecting to leave Franklin by the end of February.
“He’ll do a great job over there,” Nutting said. “The DPW budget is about $15 million, so you need a lot of smarts in a lot of areas. We’re very happy for him and we’ll do our best to fill his shoes.”
Cantoreggi said Nutting has been a teacher and a friend.
“He’s been a great mentor to me,” Cantoreggi said. “I feel comfortable taking up this role (as town administrator) just because of the stuff I’ve learned from him.”
Cantoreggi’s career includes stints as DPW director in Millis, highway superintendent in Norwood, and parks superintendent in Cambridge.
Before Cantoreggi dove into the world of municipal work in the 1990s, he was a second lieutenant in the Army, stationed in Fort Ord in Salinas, California. He holds bachelor of science degrees in business and in plant and soil science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Cantoreggi, who has served as chairman of the Planning Board in his hometown of Millis, said he loves Franklin and that leaving was a hard decision. But he wanted one more adventure before retirement.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but I like challenges,” he said. “I talked to my wife and we both figured maybe that this is the last big one.”
Most of all, he said he’s going to miss his colleagues, and their hard work and dedication.
“Franklin is a great, great town to work for, from the Town Council all the way down to the crew,” he said. “The director is always the face of Public Works, but I can’t get anything done without this great staff.”
Scott Calzolaio can be reached at email@example.com or 508-734-0389. Follow him on Twitter @ScottCaz