Columbus Light and Water board of directors has formed a committee to conduct a national search for a new executive director following the death of Todd Gale.
The committee will be made up of board Vice Chair Mike Tate, CLW Human Resources Manager Joe Beall and human resources consultant Camille Young, Tate said after the board’s meeting Wednesday.
He said the committee will receive resumes and narrow it down to the top handful of candidates to present to the board.
In addition to managing CLW and its employees and finances, the executive director is responsible for working with outside entities like Tennessee Valley Authority, Tate said.
“We as the board have to do our due diligence,” he said. “There is no replacing Todd Gale. (He) was able to communicate not only with people here in Mississippi or here in Columbus, but even on a national level with TVA, so the person we bring in is going to have to have some of those same skills that’s able to motivate and try to get business or industry back to Columbus.”
Tate said he did not have an exact deadline for when applications should be turned in or when the committee will bring final names before the board, but he said the committee will meet prior to the next board meeting and hopefully come up with a timeline then.
In the meantime, Chief Financial Officer Mike Bernsen will serve as interim executive director, after the board called a special virtual meeting on Feb.12, the same day Gale died.
“I just told (the board) that I can do it, I’d like to do, and we’ll go from there,” Bernsen said Wednesday.
Gale, 52, died the day before a winter storm brought freezing temperatures and icy roads to Columbus and surrounding areas. CLW crews were out in 17-degree weather removing tree limbs from power lines and restoring residents’ power just days after losing their executive director, Bernsen said.
CLW board chair Brandy Gardner opened Wednesday’s meeting by acknowledging Bernsen and CLW crews, both offering condolences for Gale’s death and for their handling of the bad weather.
“My hat and my heart goes out to you because I know you were dealing with your own grief for Todd, and then also to step in and step up the way you do, we really thank you for that,” she said.