By Joan Goodchild, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Although a search committee charged with finding the next head of the Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO) had almost 50 outstanding applicants to sift through, they didn’t need to go far to make a final decision. Michael R. Hale, currently the assistant town manager in Shrewsbury, has been named as the new general manager for SELCO. Hale will replace Thomas R. Josie, who has served as SELCO's general manager since 1986. Josie announced in December 2010 that he planned on retiring.
SELCO, the municipally owned and operated utilities provider in Shrewsbury, formed a seven member search committee shortly after Josie announced his intentions to step down. Cliff Jefferson, the chair of the SELCO Commission, said because the services SELCO offers have grown from simply providing electricity to now offering phone, cable and internet services, the committee was seeking candidates with a thorough understanding of business, technology and utilities. The job posting called for a bachelor of science degree, an MBA or equivalent, experience in financial analysis, and business plan development and implementation. The commission was also looking for a candidate with multi-discipline business management experience along with technical knowledge and experience in CATV, communications and/or the electric utilities industries.
“We felt, number one, that we wanted a good business person and also someone who would maintain the current culture at SELCO,” Jefferson said. “The employees are very talented, they love coming to work. We wanted to ensure the next person in charge would keep that environment going.”
While Hale had tough competition, Jefferson said his background and education in finance, his demonstrated knowledge of business management and the initiative he has taken in his current role as assistant town manager impressed the search committee.
“(Hale) has taken on a number of assignments from the town manager who gave him a free hand to run parts of the town and he has done an excellent job with it,” Jefferson said. “Also, we know his management style and he certainly meets the business criteria we were seeking.”
Hale, who has worked for the town of Shrewsbury for more than 20 years, has an MBA magna cum laude from Boston University, and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Leadership Program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
“I am grateful the Commission bestowed their confidence in me to lead an outstanding group of employees and succeed Tom Josie, who over his career built the organization into the municipal utility for which many set as the standard of excellence,” Hale said.
The exact date Hale will assume his new role has not yet been determined. Jefferson said no major changes for SELCO are in the works when Hale takes over as general manager.