By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer
SHREWSBURY — A skillful communicator, a leader and an excellent public servant — those were some of the words the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen used to describe Town Manager Kevin Mizikar during his review, which was presented during their June 8 meeting.
“This is a team effort,” Mizikar told the board in response. “We work very well together. That’s something that I sought coming into this community and never take for granted.”
Selectmen gave Mizikar a rating of “exceeding expectations, exceptional and outstanding.”
Selectman John Lebeaux added that he tended to be a hard grader.
“Through all the extraordinary, unexpected challenges that came our way and how effectively Mr. Mizikar addressed them, I gave him the highest rankings that I possibly could,” Lebeaux said.
According to Chair John Samia, the review evaluated Mizikar on 11 factors: knowledge, productivity, decision making, oral and written communication, financial administration, leadership, public relations, work relationships, staff development and training, personnel practices and his goals for fiscal year 2021.
“The comments were overwhelmingly favorable under the 11 categories,” said Samia.
Samia presented the results of the review. One recurring theme of Mizikar’s evaluation was the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He was ahead of what needed to be done for COVID before I think we even knew COVID was out of Washington state,” said Selectman Maurice DePalo.
Samia noted several of Shrewsbury’s accomplishments over the past year under Mizikar’s helm, like the new Beal school project being able to be completed on time and under budget, the organization of Shrewsbury’s first outdoor Town Meeting and the town’s successful override.
Samia said Shrewsbury was able to maintain its AAA bond rating, which is the highest level that S&P Global Partners assigns, “despite financial challenges caused by the pandemic and our longstanding structural deficit.”
Selectmen also praised Mizikar’s high expectations for staff, including having town departments submit their own goals. They described him as “someone you would want to work for because of his relationship he develops with his employees and his collaborative nature.”
“There would have been a whole lot of aimless wandering over the past year without the leadership of Mr. Mizikar,” read Samia. “I’m still amazed at the forward progress that occurred despite the complete disruption caused by the pandemic.”
Some of the selectmen noted that their ratings were off on the review, compared to what they submitted to town staff.
“To say that the work that Mr. Mizikar has done over particularly the past year that it’s been exceptional is an understatement,” DePalo said.