Ashland Selectmen Call Town Manager Herbert A ‘Dynamic, Creative and Forward-Thinking Leader’ in Review

ASHLAND – The 5-member Ashland Board of Selectmen is expected to give Town Manager Michael Herbert a glowing review tonight, April 18 at their meeting.

A draft review of Herbert, which Ashland SOURCE obtained, has him receiving an overall rating of 4.4 out of a high of 5 from the Board of Selectmen.

“Over the past year, Michael has worked closely with the Board of Selectmen to continue the implementation of our shared vision and goals. Importantly, this vision also includes residents, other town officials, key stakeholders, town employees and our legislators. This has led to a working environment in town that has resulted in a variety of successful actions and initiatives, sometimes moving long-stalled projects to construction and implementation. Examples include: key land acquisitions, MWRA water connection, implementation of full day kindergarten, the Riverwalk, clean up of Cadilac Paint site, and the ability to provide town additional services while staying within budget, wrote Selectmen in the draft review.

“As Town Manager, Michael has been the key connection to foster this environment and develop and implement these actions. He has combined creative thinking, negotiation skills and determined leadership and management to shepard these initiatives through an often challenging public process,” wrote the Board in the draft review.

The annual Town Manager evaluation consists of numerical ratings in 10 performance areas which are supplemented with written comments.  The draft statement was a summary of the individual evaluations from Board members.

Herbert’s overall rating from the Board “Exceeds Job Standards.”  In nine of the 10 performances, he received either “Exceeds Job Standards or Outstanding.”

  • 1. Personal Characteristics – 4.5
  • 2. Professionalism – 4.5
  • 3. Public Relations/Communications – 4.6
  • 4. Board Support/Relations – 3.9
  • 5. Community Leadership – 4.6
  • 6. Organizational Leadership – 4.4
  • 7. Personnel Management – 4.3
  • 8. Financial Management – 4.8
  • 9. Operations and Infrastructure – 4.6
  • 10. Planning – 4.1

“Michael continues his successful financial skills – he has continued the development of key staff, worked successfully with Department Heads, School staff and the Finance Committee to implement a successful budget process. This included using creative and innovative ways to fund new services, and the implementation of a new “best practice” Capital Plan. Of special note this year is the receipt of the Distinguished Budget Award from the Govt Finance Officers Association. A focus area for the coming year is to address the Internal Control recommendations from the recently issued FY17 audit,” wrote Selectmen in the draft review.

“Michael also received high marks for management, operational skills and planning. He has continued to implement training and human resource initiatives and has continued the hiring and development of high quality staff in a variety of departments,” stated the draft review of the Town Manager. “With few exceptions, Town staff are perceived to perform in a professional, committed and effective manner. The response to recent storms and residential fires is one example of both his and town employees’ effectiveness, dedication and commitment to this community.”

“In summary, the Town Manager’s performance is rated very highly by all Board Members across all performance areas. He is viewed as a dynamic, creative and forward-thinking leader who is committed to the welfare of the Ashland community,” wrote Selectmen in the draft review.

Herbert, a Framingham resident was promoted to Town Manager in 2016, after being hired as the assistant town manager in May of 2013.



1. Personal Characteristics Average

a. Exhibits honest and ethical behavior 5.0
b. Acts in a fair and equitable manner 4.6
c. Effectively deals with unforeseen issue and problems 4.0
d. Shows resilience by maintaining energy and motivation despite constant
demands. Responds well to stressful situations 4.4
e. Is creative, with the ability to reach for effective and inventive solutions. Adapts
and innovative when confronted with demands 4.4



2. Professionalism Average

a. Is fully knowledgeable and committed to the field of local government
management 4.8
b. Seeks to enhance skills and abilities through educational opportunities 3.6
c. Actively participates in professional municipal management organizations 4.6

d. Encourages staff training and development 4.8




3. Public Relations/Communications Average

a. Projects a positive image in the community 5.0
b. Is reasonably open and available to the public and responsive to citizen complaints or requests 4.4
c. Communicates effectively to the media 4.6
d. Keeps the citizenry informed of current issues in Town government 4.4

4. Board Support/ Relations Average

a. Provides quality analysis of policy issues and proposals 3.8
b. Implements policy matters and other directives adopted by the Board of Selectmen 4.2
c. Handles routine requests and tasks to avoid Board action 4.4
d. Keeps Board members informed of issues and activities in Town government and in the community 3.6
e. Listens and understands Selectmen concerns 3.6




5. Community Leadership Average

a. Provides leadership within the community by being visible and approachable 4.8
b. Maintains good communications with the business community 5.0
c. Supports and recognizes the efforts of volunteer citizens and groups 4.2
d. Maintains effective communications with other communities, state agencies, &
municipal organizations to enhance the Town’s position. 4.8
e. Maintains effective communications with state and federal elected positions to enhance the Town’s position 4.2




6. Organizational Leadership Average

a. Provides leadership, motivation and support within the organization 4.8

b. Effectively delegates tasks and assignments 3.8
c. Builds and motivates a team, provides direction & monitors/adjust performance as required 4.2
d. Recruits, selects and retains quality personnel 4.8
e. Has respect of Department Heads and members of the organization 4.2




7. Personnel Management Average

a. Evaluates performance and takes necessary action to resolve negative results 3.6
b. Effectively delegates tasks and assignments 3.8
c. Provides leadership in negotiating labor contracts 4.6
d. Maintains positive employee relations 4.6
e. Develops and maintains personnel management system 4.8



8. Financial Management Average

a. Prepares a timely and realistic annual budget proposal 4.8
b. Seeks to maximize revenue opportunities through non-tax mechanisms (e.g.
grants-in-aid) 4.6
c. Controls expenditure of Town funds to minimize waste and inefficiency 4.8
d. Ensures effective controls and reports of Town financial activity 4.8
e. Accurately forecasts and reports the Town’s financial condition. 4.8
f. Provides future vision and direction 4.8




9. Town Operations & Infrastructure Average

a. Provides effective oversight and coordination of Town programs and services 4.6
b. Seeks to improve the Town’s infrastructure 4.8
c. Seeks to enhance municipal services and its delivery 4.6
d. Promotes automation and innovation in service delivery 4.2




10. Planning and Organization Average

a. Creates and facilitates an environment for long-range and strategic planning 4.6
b. Develops proposals for cost effective reorganization of Town operations 4.6
c. Establishes appropriate goals and objectives for performance 4.2
d. Negotiates and keeps realistic commitments 3.4
e. Manages expectations of others appropriately 3.6


Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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