By Ann McCreary
The Town of Twisp is advertising for a new public works director to replace Andrew Denham, who resigned from the job effective Jan. 31.
Denham, who lives with his wife in Conconully, said the hour-plus commute to his work in Twisp had become too difficult, particularly in light of the demands of the public works job.
“The combination of very long days and the commute … was what tipped the scale. It came down to quality of life,” Denham said last week, after submitting his letter of resignation to the mayor “with great sadness.”
Denham said he built his three-bedroom house in Conconully about nine years ago. He took the job of public works director in Twisp just over two years ago, and hoped the commute to Twisp would work, but found it too taxing.
He said the high cost of housing in the Methow Valley made purchasing a comparable home here out of the question.
“I wouldn’t come close to being able to purchase a replacement,” he said.
The decision to resign “was a tremendously difficult decision for me,” he said. He offered to stay on as interim public works director, “to maintain continuity within the department and keep project status moving forward” while Twisp looks for a replacement.
Denham has taken a job as a public works operator with the city of Omak, and said he would work for Twisp as needed after normal hours.
Denham said there are $4.2 million worth of street, sewer and water improvement projects planned in 2017, “and I want to hand that work off to the right person.”
Some projects that Denham was planning to undertake, including $1.4 million in water line improvements, will be put on hold until a new public works director is hired.