By Jaime Thomas
After 20 years of service to the town of Granville, Highway Superintendent John Tanner will retire at the end of the month.
The Town Board reluctantly accepted his resignation as of Dec. 31 at a meeting Thursday night. Town Supervisor Matt Hicks jokingly asked fellow board members what would happen if they refused to let Tanner resign.
“We certainly appreciate all the time and energy you put into the town of Granville for all these years,” Hicks told Tanner.
Tanner said he is ready to retire after almost 37 years in public service—he was a teacher for 16 years before becoming highway superintendent—and now seemed like a good time. He said he didn’t want to wait two more years until the end of his term; rather, he thought halfway through was a good exiting point.
“I have mixed emotions—I think everybody does when they retire,” he said of leaving. “It’s been a great run.”
He took over from John Cosey on Jan. 1 1994 and has stayed in office since. Hicks pointed out that the town of Granville has been fortunate to have only two highway superintendents serve the town for the last 50 years.
Tanner said he enjoys his job, especially the interactions that come with it.
“It’s something new every day. You don’t get bored; it’s not a boring job. You get to meet a lot of people,” he said, and he’ll most miss the public. “The day in and day out, answering phone calls, solving problems.”
Though he admitted that it’s impossible to please everyone, Tanner said he has had positive interactions with 99 percent of the people in Granville. Additionally, he said it has been “terrific” working with various town councilmen.
His zeal for doing the job right is apparent during his monthly reports to the Town Board and in how he operates his department.
“I’ve always told them to leave the area you’re working on as if it were in front of your house,” Tanner said of his work philosophy. “I’ve tried to be honest with everyone.”
Both Hicks and incoming Highway Superintendent Eric Towne agree that Tanner leaves big shoes to fill.
“He put in an awful lot of time, energy, effort and sweat through the years. There’s a lot to it,” Hicks said. “We wish he stayed on a little longer, especially through the winter.”
But after Saturday night’s storm, Tanner joked that he won’t miss the aftermath of snow.
“John’s done a tremendous job,” Towne said. “He got a lot of programs started with maintaining roads and equipment. I hope he has a long and restful retirement.”
Tanner has been working with Towne for the past year to help ready him for the new position. Towne, who begins as superintendent Jan. 1, has been with the highway department for about 25 years.
“I think he’ll do alright. The workers I’ve always had have been super—that’s always a plus,” Tanner said.
Towne, a lifelong Granville resident, has been accompanying Tanner to board meetings throughout the past year.
“He’s done a wonderful job, and I’m hoping to do the same,” Towne said. He’ll have to seek reelection next November if he wants to keep his new position, and he said he plans on doing so.
Tanner said he’s going to be available to help anyone who needs it after he retires.
“I’ve lived here all my life; I know a lot about the town,” he said. “I hope everything goes well, and I wish everybody luck.”