Potsdam Village Administrator Fenton hanging up his hat after 30 years
Monday, June 23, 2014 - 5:27 pm

By CRAIG FREILICH

POTSDAM -- Potsdam Village Administrator David Fenton is retiring after 30 years working for the village.

The Potsdam High School graduate is leaving his job Jan. 31 after more than four years as village administrator, more than 10 years as village treasurer, a stint as head of the Potsdam Housing Authority, and more than five years as an officer with the Potsdam Police Department.

“I’ll probably continue to work somewhere. I don’t think I’m ready to kick back and do nothing,” Fenton said.

He said he’s leaving after 30 years in civil service because after that long, if you don’t retire, “you get diminishing returns. You’re actually hurting yourself,” with pay for continued work not amounting to much more than the pension.

Fenton graduated from Potsdam High in 1975, then went into the Army for a three-year hitch. After that, he earned an economics degree at SUNY Potsdam. He spent a couple of years working in Utah with a periodicals company before he returned to Potsdam in 1985 and joined the police department.

“You can’t get much more invested in the community than I am. I grew up here, and have lived here most of my life,” he said when he was appointed administrator in 2010.

“People here know me, and know that we can talk about specific problems. I’m likely to know the background of a problem.”

As he moved from the treasurer’s office to the administrator’s office, he jumped right in working with the village Dissolution Study Committee, negotiating with employee unions, and wrestling with the problem-plagued hydroelectric project, which is finally working the way it should.

“It’s certainly been a challenge, if nothing else. Trying to get the hydro dam going was a struggle, but it’s done.”

All in all, he said, “it’s been very interesting, and we got quite a bit done.”

The village is advertising for his replacement, and they hope to have a new administrator in place by Dec. 1, so there is some time for a smooth transition.