Selbyville’s new town administrator is no stranger to the townspeople, or to the Town’s rules. Michael “Mike” Deal is coming off of nine years in Selbyville code enforcement to become town administrator.
He took on the role full-time on June 19, after a few weeks as interim administrator.
He’s already familiar with the way locals think. Now he’s learning how to run the Town. That means attending grant seminars and meeting with legislative leaders, so he can represent the Town of Selbyville and its interests at a higher level.
Deal said he aims to “to carry on with the traditions the town likes … this small-town America presence,” which also drew Deal to a place so like his own childhood home.
Deal has always been in public service one way or another. Before coming to Delaware, he had a 20-plus-year career as a correctional officer in Hagerstown, Md.
Then, gazing at the moon over the Atlantic Ocean, he and his wife were inspired to retire from state service and move to Delaware. They landed in Bethany Beach, now residing in Millville with enough room to host their grandchildren.
Since Deal came to work in Selbyville, he’s seen the outskirts of town expand as property was annexed in, creating new housing developments and more.
The industrial park has also grown, partly because the retired town administrator Robert “Bob” Dickerson helped make it so attractive to business, Deal said.
Deal complimented his coworkers at the Town of Selbyville.
“They get things done. The townspeople have a good crew here. Like that water leak — there wasn’t any hesitation. … They keep me in the loop.”
Town employees and council members stayed on-site late into the night when a 12-inch water main broke on July 13. Residents were advised to boil their tap water, in case of E. coli contamination, after a utility company caused Selbyville’s first major water leak, Deal said.
Unfortunately, the massive leak also drained the water towers. (An emergency valve that could have shut off the water had been underwater for so long that it had eroded and wouldn’t close properly.)
Although officials were “99.9 percent” certain at the time that the water quality was fine, government regulations required a closure.
“We’re thankful the townspeople were patient with us. I’m sorry it happened,” Deal said.
However, that was a learning experience, and now Town Hall is considering a notification system that would telephone residents during town emergencies.
“Hopefully, something good will come out of that, for other things, too,” Deal said.
Water and infrastructure is always in the back of town officials’ minds, “bringing them up to standards of the general public,” Deal said.
Deal said he is looking forward to the incoming water treatment towers. Still being designed, the new aeration system will remove volatile compounds (such as gasoline additives) from the water.
Selbyville is also in the design phase for repair of a deteriorated culvert at Railroad Avenue.
Now 58, Deal said he enjoys spending time with his family, skateboarding, motorcycling and improving his surfing skills.
“[I] thank the Town for allowing me to take this position, take the helm and run the Town,” Deal said. “I hope to be able to take the Town into the future,” with the guidance of past administrators and the long-serving council, he added. “I’m in it for a good cause and the long haul.”