New Water Commissioner appointed; Airport Commissioner reappointed

At-large Councilor and Personnel Action Committee Chairman Cindy C. Harris (WNG File Photo)

WESTFIELD – At-large Councilor Cindy C. Harris, chairperson of the Personnel Action Committee, submitted the appointment of new Water Commissioner John Niedzielski and the reappointment of Airport Commissioner William Gonet, both to unanimous approval at the Monday, April 22 City Council meeting.
Harris said John Niedzielski, who lives on Heritage Lane, was recommended 3-0 by PAC members Brent B. Bean, II, William Onyski and herself to serve on the Water Commission until Feb. 2021, replacing Matt Barnes who resigned to become the city’s treasurer/collector.
Harris said Niedzielski has 30 years of environmental project related experience, including work plan development, implementation of site investigations, brownfields project management, selecting appropriate remedial technologies, pilot testing technologies and remedial action projects.
He has experience negotiating with regulatory agency representatives, in waste management, technical support and evaluation.
Niedzielski has a master’s in environmental toxicology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a bachelor’s in biology and biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is a licensed site professional, licensed drinking water supply operator, and licensed solid waste third party inspector.
Harris said Niedzielski has special training in OSHA regulations, is a member of the Mass. Rural Water Association, Mass Licensed Site Professionals, and Environmental Professionals Organization. He is employed as a senior project manager with ATC Group Services in Agawam.
Harris said Niedzielski has extensive experience with drinking water operation, knowledge of collection of water samples, and system maintenance to maintain water quality, meter readings, review of system components and backflow experience as required by the Department of Environmental Protection. He has written articles on bacteria in water, heavy matter waste removal in water, and other technical articles specific to this field.
“These are really well qualified people that we’re putting on these boards,” said At-large Councilor John J. Beltrandi, III after Harris spoke. “They add a lot to what we need to see here. It’s very important,” added Beltrandi, noting that Niedzielski is well qualified to help the city with its water situation.
Ward 4 Councilor Michael Burns, who previously served on the Water Commission, said that he had recommended John Niedzielski for the position, and thanked him for agreeing. “Thank you for your service,” concurred Ward 3 Councilor Andrew K. Surprise.
City Council President Ralph J. Figy said he would echo what he has said many times before. “Westfield doesn’t know how lucky they are to have some of the qualified people we have serving on these boards for the great sum of $750. It boggles my mind. Thank you very much, we appreciate it,” he said, before a unanimous vote in support of Niedzielski was taken.
Councilor Harris also submitted the reappointment of William Gonet of Cardinal Lane in Westfield to serve on the Airport Commission, until Feb., 2021 on a 3-0 recommendation of her committee.
Harris said Gonet is vice president of sales and marketing for Barnes Aerospace in Windsor, CT, and has over 30 years of experience in the aircraft industry, from technical support to negotiating major agreements with General Electric, Rolls Royce, and International airlines.
Harris noted that Barnes Aerospace has eleven facilities in the U.S. and Singapore, and that Gonet has also served on the board of directors of the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks since 2006, and that Gonet was endorsed by former Councilor Bob Paul and Airport liaison William Onyski.
Beltrandi said Gonet is another person who is well qualified. “I’ve known him for a number of years. He adds a lot to that commission, and I’m glad he’s staying on,” he said, before a unanimous 13-0 vote to confirm William Gonet for the reappointment.

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