Town Manager’s handling of pandemic among strengths in review

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Town Clerk Kevin Poirier [left] swears in Town Manager Michael Borg on March 2. The Town Council recently reviewed Borg's performance and cited his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Starting a new job is rarely easy, but in the case of Michael Borg, the time following his first day as North Attleborough Town Manager held some unique challenges.

Borg was sworn in on March 2, shortly before COVID-19 led to the shutdown of schools, town offices, and businesses. Since then, he has had to re-draft the budget and manage municipal employees as the pandemic forced constant changes to how they did business. During a performance review held during the Aug. 10 meeting, members of the Town Council praised Borg’s handling of the pandemic and ensuring that the town’s services continued.

The amount of leadership demonstrated during the budget cuts cannot be overlooked,” said Council President Keith Lapointe. “You pivoted well as the new information came out. I’m impressed with your active engagement with residents.”

The review included a discussion on a potential merit raise of 2 percent, which Borg declined to accept. Since the pandemic began, Local Aid is expected to be lower than normal, between 10-30 percent. Though no layoffs occurred, a hiring freeze is in place and several capital projects have been tabled.

All of this is a team effort on the town side,” said Borg. “I’m not taking all of the responsibility for this—it is truly a team effort.”

Each of the councilors offered their comment on the work Borg has done. Justin Pare said he interacted with the town manager often through the Finance Subcommittee, which he chairs. He said that Borg’s different budget scenarios showed foresight and offered a variety of plans depending on what happens next. JoAnn Cathcart said Borg “hit the ground running” responding to the impacts from the virus. She said that he maintained good communications with town employees and was always willing to educate himself.

His attitude and demeanor impress me and give me hope,” said Cathcart.

Michael Lennox said Borg has had a solid beginning and hopes that there are few bumps in the road ahead. He said Borg’s leadership and response to the pandemic have been impressive. Adam Scanlon appreciated seeing Borg at a vigil for George Floyd in late June and how he has fostered positive relationships with the community.

It’s important that he get out into the community and know people’s concerns,” said Scanlon. “Move the community forward. I like to see continuous reporting of goals. I look forward to the year to come and like the groundwork the town has made.”