WATERBURY — The city’s development arm has tapped, the former head of the state public utilities regulatory authority, as its new director.
The board of the Waterbury Development Corp. voted 15-0 this week to hire the 49-year-old Naugatuck resident to run the agency. He will start Monday.
Agency officials praised DelGobbo’s connections to local and state governments, businesses and nonprofits, and depth of knowledge of the local community and its players.
“I have no doubt in my mind he can hit the ground running,” said WDC Chairman Joseph Geary at a special meeting. “I can only imagine the Rolodex this guy has.”
DelGobbo was chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority from 2009 to 2012, and left after it was rolled into the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
As chairman, DelGobbo managed the agency’s 114-man workforce and its $20 million budget. At WDC, he will oversee a staff of 13 and $1.5 million annual budget.
Before that, from 1997 to 2009, DelGobbo was a 12-year state legislator for the 70th District, where he worked on public utility, long-term health care and state budget issues.
From 1991 to 1994, DelGobbo led the state Republicans. He has also worked as an aide to the Naugatuck mayor and a vice president of Greater Waterbury Regional Chamber.
DelGobbo was excited to learn he’d gotten the job.
“It feels like coming home,” he said. “I know how important this agency is to the city. It is a big opportunity to be engaged, to help, to give back. That’s my life’s passion.”
As a utility regulator, DelGobbo said he had to take a step back from the community, but he looks forward to rolling up his sleeves and diving back in to “the nuts and bolts.”
He wants to work with WDC staff to set immediate goals, like successful completion of some troubled projects, like the behind-schedule Municipal Stadium renovation.
But he will also look for long-term procedural efficiencies.
He reorganized state public utility divisions along functional lines, rather than subject areas, to improve efficiency and cope with lopsided attrition, for example.
The terms of DelGobbo’s compensation had not been set. The board voted Monday to give Geary the right to negotiate a salary with DelGobbo over the week.
DelGobbo’s predecessor, Leo Frank, earned $135,000 a year before he retired after a six-year run. But officials say that heads of similar agencies can earn up to $170,000 a year.
Interim director Michael O’Connor, who himself used to be the director of WDC, said the agency was likely to offer him a salary somewhere in the middle of $120,000 and $170,000.