Mayor Looks Back at Tenure in Office

He also looks ahead at new job as deputy schools superintendent of operations.

Mayor James Richetelli Jr., who has decided not to seek re-election, looks back on his decade in office fondly, listing his team's accomplishments with a touch of pride.

"As the mayor, you've got to juggle it all, you've got to keep it in order, and I think we've done a pretty good job over the last 10 years," he said.

"It's not all Jim Richetelli. It's a leadership team and it's many dedicated employees, many dedicated volunteers, civic groups and organizations. We all collaborate to make Milford the great place that it is."

Among the successes are keeping the city financially sound by, for example, growing its commercial base along the Post Road corridor, and maintaining it's New England feel by, for example, preserving open space and historic properties, like Milford Academy.

"The finances are in great shape and, along the way, we have been able to maintain our histoirc New England charm," Richetelli said.

Under his stewardship, Richetelli, 49, said the city weathered two major storms: the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack and the 2008 economic crisis.

He took office in November 2001, just two months after the terrorists struck New York.

"There was huge uncertainty in the country and that trickled down to River Street and Broad Street here in Milford...and we were able to adapt to that, we were able to stay strong," he said.

When the 2008 economic crisis struck, Milford was able to hold its own, Richetelli said.

"We were in a position, a financial position to be able to weather that and we weathered that very well and we came out of it," he said.

He noted that the city has the second-highest possible bond rating -- and that it's pension fund is more than 100 percent funded.

The mayor said looking back, he wouldn't change a thing.

"I really do believe that all things happen for a reason and so not everything turns out exactly the way that I would like it to. But I believe that it turns out the way that it's supposed to. So, I really wouldn't look back and change anything. It's gotten me to where I am today and it's gotten the city to where it is today, which is in pretty decent shape.

"We're not without our faults and we're not without difficulties...but all in all, Milford is just a great place to live, it's a great place to grow up, it's a great place to do business. The fact that I've had some small part in being able to maintain it over the last 10 years is a great sense of satisfaction for me."

Now, it's time for a change for the man who believes no one should make elected office a career.  He's been named the Milford public schools' new deputy schools superintendent of operations. The position currently pays $137,000 a year -- a substantial boost over his $93,500  annual salary as mayor.

But Richetelli, a married father of three, insists money is not what motivated him,  although he concedes if he stopped working for the city now, he'd get a partial pension of $22,000 a year and if he stays another 10 years, he could reap a full pension of more than $50,000 a year.

He says he brings with him to the public schools his budgeting abilities, his management style, and his love for the city and its children.

As deputy superintendent of operations, he'll be responsible for overseeing, among other things, purchasing, budgeting, insurance, payroll, plant maintenance, the custodial staff, cafeteria staff, and school buses.

"The hallmark and the theme of 10 years of my administration were youth activities. This is why moving into the school system fits right in with what I am, who I am," he said.

"The operation of the school system is to support learning and to support instruction," he added.

Richetelli looks forward to working with Dr. Elizabeth Feser, the new schools superintendent, and the administrators she has assembled.

"I hope that I will be able to enhance the great team," Richetelli said.

And he may just have more time to spend with the family, which he says has sacrificed a lot for him to serve as mayor.

"In the sense that we may be able to have a little bit closer to a normal family life, I look forward to that," he said.



Richard Fohrenbach May 12, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Great ten years. Good luck to Jim. Milford is fortunate to have had him as Mayor and for his new job. Our boys are done with school, but other families will benefit from Jim's dedication, honesty and enthusiasm.


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