Middleboro Gas & Electric general manager highest-paid public utility manager in Massachusetts

By Alice C. Elwell, GateHouse News Service
May 15, 2011

Middleboro — Middleboro Gas & Electric General Manager John P. Granahan Jr. is the highest-paid general manager of a public utility anywhere in Massachusetts, the town-owned utility's commissioners have found.

Granahan receives $188,850 a year, outstripping his peers by thousands, according to a survey prepared by the Municipal Electric Association of Massachusetts.

“What do we do with this from here?” resident Richard Young asked at a recent meeting of the commissioners.

The comparison of Granahan’s salary comes amid a series of recent revelations about the utility’s finances, management and business practices. Those have included:

• A program that allows employees to cash in unused sick time, then roll it over to the next year;

• $12,000 in travel expenses over the past eight months for commission chair Donald R. Triner Sr.;

• A payment in lieu of taxes to the town that was continually shrinking and far less than comparable utilities pay to their towns. Commissioners voted earlier this month to raise the payment by $100,000, for a total of approximately $480,000.

Young said the utility in Reading, for example, does double the business of Middleboro, and that its general manager receives a far smaller salary.

Granahan defended his salary, saying Middleboro Gas & Electric has fewer managers than similar utilities do. Specifically, he said, the company lacks an assistant general manager and financial manager.

Those who receive salaries closest to Granahan’s include Vincent F. Cameron Jr., general manager of the Reading Municipal Light Department, at $166,920 a year, and William G. Bottiggi, general manager of the Braintree Electric Light Department, at $162,500.

Middleboro’s utility does, however, have management positions that were not included in the report. They include purchasing-power manager Jackie Crowley, who receives $110,625 a year, and public communications manager Sandra A. Richter, who receives $101,700 a year.

In other business, Commission Chairman Donald R. Triner Sr. put a ban on commissioners’ out-of-state travel until the board adopts a travel policy. The board accepted Triner’s decree and did not vote on the ban.

The ban did little to appease former selectman Lincoln D. Andrews, who grilled Triner on attending a conference in San Diego that discussed extracting natural gas from shale.

“How is that going to benefit Middleboro?” Andrews asked. “Does anybody here ever question (Triner’s travel)?”