Town Council unanimously chooses Chelmsford assistant town manager

📸Town of Chelmsford photo

SOUTHBRIDGE — Pending successful contract negotiations, Michael McCall will soon be settling into the town manager’s office.

On Thursday evening, the Southbridge Town Council unanimously appointed McCall as the successor to Ronald San Angelo, besting two other finalists who were interviewed earlier this week.

Currently employed as the assistant town manager in Chelmsford, McCall has spent more than 20 years working in municipal government, having previously worked as an attorney with a background in criminal, administrative and municipal law. McCall has served as Chelmsford’s assistant town manager for three years.

McCall, who speaks English, French, German, and Spanish, told councilors on Tuesday evening he is “a collaborative leader” and “strategic thinker.” During Thursday night’s meeting to choose their preference, several councilors referenced McCall being a polyglot as a positive attribute in a town with a large Spanish-speaking population.

Multiple councilors also referenced McCall’s use of “we” and a team concept rather than “my” and “I.” Councilors Jacquelyn Ryan and David Adams each applauded McCall’s eagerness to share credit with others.

Town Councilor Scott Lazo said the decision proved to be an easy one.

“It wasn’t that close,” Lazo said. “When Mike McCall sat up and started talking, if he had an answer he gave it to you straight. If he didn’t have an answer, he said, ‘I don’t know.'”

Town Councilor John Daniel noted McCall gave several indications to being thoughtful with taxpayer funds, specifically noting his experience elsewhere as a finance committee member and his recognition of Southbridge’s stabilization fund.

McCall was chosen over Thomas Guerino, former town administrator in Bourne, and Michael Cramer, former town manager in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Town Councilor Michael Marketti said he preferred Guerino, identifying it as a “gut feeling,” but said he wouldn’t be opposed to McCall. Referencing the roles, responsibilities, and powers listed in the town’s charter, Marketti expressed reticence based on McCall’s comments on Tuesday evening that he would like to make his own mark. McCall’s comments were in response to coming to Southbridge rather than staying in Chelmsford, where the town manager’s position will soon be filled.

“I’m not afraid of challenges and I think it’s a good time to get out and make your mark,” said McCall on Tuesday.

He later added: “This is a time for me to chart my course, to find a community that will take a chance with me.”

Town Councilor Gus Steeves said he found the other finalists “interesting,” before outlining his concerns with each. Steeves suggested Guerino’s long career in municipal administration may result in a less flexible mindset, while Cramer “looked like he kind of skirted the issues,” and “it didn’t seem like there was a lot of depth there.”

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