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SHIRLEY — The new Conservation Commission administrator, recently appointed by the Board of Selectmen, is a certified professional wetlands scientist with over 20 years of experience and “extensive contacts” in the area of wetlands protection, which is what the job is all about.

When its previous, long-time administrator left last month, the ConCom advertised for the position, despite some indication that the cost-cutting selectmen might not fill it. On March 17, the commissioners selected Charles “Chuck” Katuska, of Southborough, as their candidate.

“It’s a key position,” to enforce the Wetlands Protection Act, ConCom Chairman Denise Brauckmiller said. With construction projects in the pipeline and violations to be processed, the new administrator has his work cut out for him, she added.

Katuska is more than qualified for the part-time job, which has been cut to 12 hours a week at a lower rate of pay and with no benefits.

He explained why he wants the job, citing a “deep and long-standing commitment to the conservation, preservation and restoration of wetland ecosystems in Massachusetts.” One might say he wrote the book on the subject. Several, in fact.

Katuska is a 1978 graduate of Yale University, where he earned a bachelor’s in biology and later a master’s in forest science, according to a three-page résumé that also lists a host of jobs in the field, a roster of conservation and wetlands-related affiliations and eight published works, including “A Citizens Guide to Wetlands Restoration in Massachusetts,” co-authored with C. Foote-Smith and published in 2000.

Commending Katuska’s “outstanding” credentials, the board’s vote on March 23 was unanimous. The appointment runs through June 30, 2009. — M.E. Jones