Published August 14, 2019

MELROSE — It didn’t take long for Rick Stinson to find something to keep himself busy.

Yesterday, he was named the interim director of Melrose’s Department of Public Works by Mayor Gail Infurna. Stinson will temporarily succeed John Scenna, who is leaving Melrose early next month to become the head professional in the department that runs the Lynnfield Center Water District.

Stinson retired July 5 as the longtime Wakefield DPW director. Only Dick Boutiette’s 31-year tenure as DPW chief was longer.

When he retired, Stinson had 40 years of public service, 33 of those in Wakefield, the town he grew up in.

After graduating from Wakefield Memorial High School in 1977, Stinson earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 1991, he received a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University.

His employment with the town started while he was still in high school as summer help with the Light Department. After college, MGLD General Manager Bill Wallace asked Stinson to stay on as an analyst, focusing on IT and engineering.

In 1988, Boutiette asked him to come over to the DPW as Business Manager, a position he held until 1994 when he left to take the position of Operations Director for the Danvers DPW.

But in 2001 he was back in Wakefield to stay as Director of Public Works, the second largest town department with 11 divisions, 77 employees and an annual budget of over $20 million, including all divisions plus waste disposal.

Stinson said that he has modeled his management style after that of Boutiette, who would give direction but then allow his supervisors and workers an opportunity to grow by bringing their own creativity to the job.

Following is the release from Gail Infurna, the Melrose mayor, regarding the changing of the guard at the city’s public works department:

“As you may be aware, DPW Director John Scenna’s last official day with the City of Melrose is Friday, September 6. I want to thank John for his many years of excellent service to the City of Melrose, and wish him all the best in his new position as Superintendent, Lynnfield Center Water District.

“I had initially planned to hire a new DPW Director as quickly as possible. The City Charter gives the Mayor the important responsibility of recruiting and hiring for all positions in the City, and I will continue to take that responsibility seriously until my last day in office.

“On July 25, 2019, our Human Resources Director advertised for the position on the employment websites of a number of professional public works organizations where public works professionals routinely look for such openings. As of today, we have only received three applications. Therefore, I have decided to leave it up to the next mayor to fill this position.

“In the meantime, because I believe it is not in the city’s best interest to leave such a critical position vacant for long, I have decided to name Rick Stinson as interim Director of Public Works. Rick recently retired as the DPW Director of Wakefield, a post he held for 18 years; before that, he was the Director of Operations in Danvers from 1994 to 2001 and the business manager for the Wakefield DPW from 1988 to 1994. He is the president and delegate of the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association and the director for their National Region 1. Rick will be responsible for day to day operations and will report directly to me.

“I hope you will join me in welcoming Rick to the City of Melrose as our Interim DPW Director. I look forward to working with him in the months to come,” Infurna wrote.