SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 30, 2014

Ipswich hires new electric light manager

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff Writer

---- — IPSWICH — Donald Newell, superintendent of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant, has been selected as Ipswich’s new electric light manager.

His hiring comes as Town Manager Robin Crosbie and selectmen are looking into reorganizing the Utilities Department. Crosbie has recommended moving the water and wastewater operations to the Department of Public Works. The discussions came about with the retirement of Tim Henry, utilities director. No decisions have been made on the reorganization by selectmen, who as serve as utility commissioners.

In the interim, Crosbie will assume some of the roles previously held by Henry, while Newell will specifically manage the Electric Light Department. Newell was unanimously selected by selectmen last week, pending contract negotiations, Crosbie said.

A search committee interviewed three candidates before selecting Newell to interview with the board. During his interview last week, selectmen asked a series of questions about his experience, and residents chimed in with questions about rates and renewable energy.

Selectman Pat McNally asked Newell how the position in Ipswich would be different from his in Wellesley. He said his primary responsibility in Wellesley was engineering and operations, but it connected to other functions of the department.

“This job would be a manager position, which I haven’t done yet,” Newell said. “In addition to having direct responsibility for engineering and operations, I would have direct responsibility for business operations.”

Newell said he has 25 years’ experience in engineering operation, power supply and utilities. He graduated from UMass Lowell in 1989, started as a field engineer for Mass Electric and worked his way up to supervisor. He joined the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant in 1999, working his way up to superintendent.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.