The search for Westport's new finance director is over: He can be found typing away at an HP Compaq desktop computer in Room 208 of Town Hall.

By Wednesday -- his second day on the job -- Gary Conrad had also stocked his work station with several binders full of town financial data.

"I'm going to hit the ground running," he said.

"I'm talking with all the people who work in the finance area and getting their thoughts and ideas. There's a lot on the plate."

Conrad began his tenure in Westport with a "whirlwind tour" on Tuesday, during which he met with Town Hall department heads, as well as Police Chief Dale Call and Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury.

Conrad comes to Westport from New Canaan, where he had served as that town's fiscal director since 1994. Before his stint in New Canaan, Conrad worked 16 years at AMAX Inc., a worldwide producer of metals and energy.

He will soon move upstairs to take the office of John Kondub, who will officially remain the town's finance director until his scheduled retirement on Jan. 31. In the meantime, Kondub will advise Conrad, as the latter settles into the job. Kondub has not disclosed his post-retirement plans.

Reflecting the decision made last week by two of the town's pension boards to close the town's traditional pension plans to new, non-union employees, Conrad will not have a pension. Instead, he will participate in a new 401-K retirement savings plan.

Conrad said Wednesday that details of his compensation package have not been settled, but Kondub last year was paid $117,000 in the job.

"Mr. Conrad came here with some tremendous credentials," Kondub said. "I look forward to working with him to accomplish a smooth transition."

During Kondub's final days at Town Hall, Conrad said his predecessor would serve as a crucial source of support.

"Anything I need, he'll walk through it with me," Conrad said of Kondub. "I'm just going to tap him for as much information as I can get in a very short period of time.