Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 16, 2017
Second generation Brooklin Road Commissioner continues work
Allen up for reelection
Neil Allen, who serves as the town of Brooklin's Road Commissioner, speaks to the audience at a 2015 town meeting at the school.
by Monique Labbe
Since March of 1977, Neil Allen has been filling potholes, digging ditches and keeping the roads safe for the residents of Brooklin as the town’s road commissioner.
Allen is running for reelection again this year, something he has done, and won, every year for the past 40 years. Before him, from 1963 until his untimely passing in 1968, Allen’s father, Stanley, was the resident road commissioner.
“My father only did it for a few years, but in 1976 I got asked to help out, maybe because he had done it and so they thought I could do it too,” said Allen.
Allen was a clammer by trade at the time, but the town did not have anybody in the road commissioner position, so he decided to help out and was officially elected the following year.
“It was half the job it is now when I first started,” said Allen. “We didn’t have some of the roads we do now, and we’ve done a lot of work to them, filling them in and digging ditches so that they’re in good condition.”
One thing he is not responsible for is the snow removal, something his father was responsible for during his time as road commissioner.
“My father passed away from moving snow. He didn’t have the kind of equipment those [plow] guys have now or the weather reports. In the city, the guy responsible for keeping an eye on the snow conditions can send his guys out then go back to bed. My father was the guy who had to watch the roads and then go plow them,” he said.
Allen says he still enjoys getting up in the morning and taking care of the town’s roads. His favorite part, he said, is that he gets to decide what projects he will work on during the day.
“I like that I’m my own boss, in a way,” he said. “The selectmen are officially my boss, and they’ll give me priorities every so often, but for the most part I get up and I decide what I want to work on that day. It’s really great.”
After four decades, Allen said he has no intentions of giving up his role as road commissioner. Unless, he said, someone takes it away from him.
“A couple of years ago they asked if I wanted the position to be a two- or three-year term instead of just the one,” he said. “I told them no, that people could run for it every year, and that if the town didn’t want me anymore then so be it.”
It has not happened yet, and short of an upset at the polls, Allen said he plans on working for a very long time.
“I’ve checked my finances, and I think I’ll keep going until they get rid of me,” he said.
Allen is running unopposed for a one-year term as road commissioner. All races are unopposed this year.
Gigi Hardy is running for a three-year term as town clerk, while Deborah Brewster looks to continue in her capacity on the board of selectmen for another three-year term. Mike Sealander is running to retain his spot on the school board for another three-year term.
The polls will open from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, at the town office. Town meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Brooklin School gym.