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James Richetelli Jr.: Moving On, Working Hard

Richetelli discusses his new position with the Board of Education and reflects on his time as Mayor.

 

Making the Transition

During his fifth term as Mayor of Milford, James Richetelli, Jr. knew that he wasn't going to run for re-election. He'd spent ten years on the Board of Aldermen, and now he'd spent ten years as Mayor. He didn't want to become a career politician. 

Around this time, Richetelli's friend, Phil Russell, was also leaving his job as Deputy Superintendent of School Operations. Before Russell's retirement, Richetelli asked him one day, "Who will take your job?"

Russell looked at Richetelli and said, "You'd be really good in that position." Russell went on to explain that his responsibilities were very similar to a Mayor role.

This point could not have been more clear than in late November 2011 on Richetelli's first day working for the Board of Education (under the slightly modified title of Chief Operations Officer). Richetelli found himself thrown headlong into managing a budget due in January: This was exactly what he would have been doing if he were Mayor. Instead of the City of Milford, though, Richetelli was now dealing with the operational budget of Milford Public Schools.

His Time as Mayor

"I think we left the city in really good shape," Richetelli said, referring to his time in office. Describing his style of governance and what was important to him, Richetelli said, "As Mayor, the number one thing is the financial welfare of the city, and the quality of life of the citizens."

Some of the initiatives that Richetelli was most proud of from his time as Mayor include Milford's ranking as a top 100 community for youth for four years, the work done to utilize Milford Academy, improvements to East Shore Middle School and the vibrant Senior Center in Milford, among other achievements.

Moving On

Richetelli described the transition of Ben Blake taking over the duties of Mayor as "great." 

"Knowing that I was a lame duck, I started the transition while the campaign was going on," Richetelli said. He kept careful notes for Blake as the two men worked side-by-side during the two week transition.

"Politics is over," Richetelli said at the time, noting that he wished Blake success as Mayor.

Always Busy

One point that James Richetelli, Jr. makes clear is that his job couldn't be less of an honorarium position. His days are filled.

"This position has a lot of everything," Richetelli said. "Finances, budgets, fuel services, facilities, school buses."

Richetelli noted that he deals with "everything that supports teachers."

"I'm working equally hard here," Richetelli said adding that it's nice, though, that there is no political aspect to his relatively new position. "When I come to work everyday, there's a job to be done."

Michael Brown July 17, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Terrible article.
Pat O'Brien July 17, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Twenty Years is not a Career politician???? I understand Mr. Richetelli is being paid more in his new position than as mayor. Just what Milford needs another bureaucrat on the dole. Did he approve the Consultant to study the declining student enrollment? How about our "stellar" school system which lags behind half the communities in the state? How about putting our money to good use for students and teachers.
Ryan Sartor (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Michael: What questions would you like Mr. Richetelli to be asked? I'd love to do a follow-up piece.
RONALD M GOLDWYN July 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Mike, how come it took two words to express your opinion? Surely one would have been sufficient. I would say that our former Mayor was job hunting prior to leaving office. I'd say he was qualified for the job. You didn't hear me squark when the new Mayor appointed Richard Smith, the Chairman of the MDTC to the vacant seat on the Mfd Police Commission.
Michael Brown July 17, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Is Mr. Richetelli aware of the public uproar over his appointment to this position? What has Mr. Richetelli learned about the education system in Milford that he didn't know while he served as mayor of the city? What did Mr. Richetelli do wrong when he sent out the bid package for East Shore Middle School? What is happening now? Does Mr. Richetelli have a long term vision for the the public education system in Milford or is he just following the lead of Mr. Cummings and Dr. Feser? A recent article in that Patch talked about energy savings in the school buildings. The price quoted for electricity calculated out to $0.18 per KWH. The city side just contracted to purchase electrical power for only $0.08 per KWH. Will the school system be renegotiating their power contract soon? Knowing what you know now, would you still have supported the closing of Simon Lake School? Do you think more schools should be closed?
Ryan Sartor (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Thanks, Michael! I will do a follow-up interview in the near future and bring these questions to Mr. Richetelli.
RONALD M GOLDWYN July 17, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Some months ago I made the suggestion to the Mayor, the BOA and the BOE to look into the possibility of converting all city oil fired boilers to natural gas. The conversion cost would be paid for within one year thus saving taxpayers a small fortune each year. The cost of natural gas is at an all time low and it is predicted to remain so.
G. Gerard July 17, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Jim was a great mayor for our city. A good, smart, honorable man and a humble one at that. He always has what's best for his city in mind. And a devoted family man too. All the best Jimmy!
Monica July 18, 2012 at 10:46 PM
In the world outside of state,city or federal jobs people go from one job to another with some basic skills that can transfer from different types of businesses. What is so different with this transition? Jimmy has many of the skill sets needed for this job! Good luck Jim!
Michael Brown July 19, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I have since got an answer to the electric bill question. The city contract amount did not include transmission cost. In the end, the city and the school system pay close to the same amount, about $0.18 per KWH.
Joe Della Monica July 25, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Some people are so bitter about there own pathetic personal lives, that they lash out at those who actually have given back to the community they live in.
Michael Brown July 25, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Maybe your buddy Jimmy should give back some of that $140K to cover the cost of that last car accident.
Joe Della Monica July 25, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Sour grapes, but then again I would expect nothing less than bashing and nothing more than useless left leaning dribble.

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