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Mayor Named New Deputy Schools Superintendent of Operations

Surprise announcement was made at Board of Education meeting.

In a closing statement that left jaws dropping at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser announced the hiring of Mayor James L. Richetelli, Jr. as the new Deputy Superintendent of Operations for Milford Public Schools.

Richetelli, who has served as mayor for the City of Milford for 10 years, applied for the position after current Deputy Superintendent of Operations, Philip G. Russell, announced his retirement last fall. Russell continued to work in the district as an interim consultant until a new superintendent and his replacement were named.

Richetelli is expected to step into his new position in November 2011 when his term as mayor concludes. Russell will continue to serve in the schools position until that time.

Richetelli called the decision to not seek re-election “extremely difficult, because I have truly cherished serving the citizens of Milford first as Alderman in the 1980s and 1990s and, most recently, as Mayor.

“But this type of opportunity comes along once in a lifetime, and I am excited to begin a new challenge as Deputy Superintendent of Operations. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to continue serving Milford in a new way. I am flattered in the confidence that Superintendent Feser has shown in me, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to joining Dr. Feser, Mike Cummings and the entire team at Milford Public Schools.”

Feser’s prepared announcement revealed that there were 33 applications from “highly qualified” applicants throughout the state and the northeast. After a series of interviews and reference checks, Richetelli “emerged as the top candidate and was selected unanimously for the position based on his vast experience, both in the community and in his professional career prior to becoming mayor of the city.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, Feser said she is “excited about what [Richetelli] brings to the position.” According to one member of the Board of Education, the selection was made by the “Cabinet” which consists of Feser, Michael Cummings, Russell and Wendy Kopazna, human resources director for Milford Schools.

The position of director of operations consists of overseeing all support systems for the district, i.e.: business office, purchasing, food services, maintenance, custodial services, insurance and transportation, according to Russell.

“I feel very good that the school system won’t miss a beat when I step down because they have a well-qualified person,” Russell said.

Dr. Mark Stapleton, chairman of the Board of Education, reiterated the feelings of Feser, saying he is “very excited” to have Richetelli on board.

John O'Neil DVM May 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM
Congratulations Jim, the Milford school system has scored a homerun.
Sharon Rutledge May 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM
Although I am pleased Jim has been hired for this position... in a time where financial concerns are on the forefront of everyone's agendas... i find it remarkable that the BOE will continue to hire Mr. Russell (who has already formally retired), so I am assuming he is being paid a stipened amount ON TOP of his retirement, until November of 2011. In this failing economy, where "regular" folks can't find a job... the BOE is willing to hold a position for an employee until they can "come on board" in7 months? Only in the fine town of Milford.... it always leaves me shaking my head in disbelief....
Lori May 10, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Congratulations !!! Maybe our children will get better school lunches :)
don May 10, 2011 at 01:32 PM
what's the financial package look like--does Jim(who did a great job for milford-IMHO)-get a retirement after he steps down from being the mayor----we're hurting-financially -seem's to be a lot of double dipping going on around here
Joe Meade May 10, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Bravo! The new superintendent is showing good decision making and leadership already. Great hire and the students will reap all the benefits of a man who serves Milford like no other. Congrats to Mayor Jim. I hope we get someone to replace him who is as committed to the city as he has been for the past decade that I have lived here.
RONALD M GOLDWYN May 10, 2011 at 03:28 PM
I congratulate our Mayor on his appointment with the MBOE. They are gaining a fine talent. As for the City of Milford, we are going to have a very hard time finding a replacement equal to Jim's talent and base of knowledge. I wish all much success for our future.
robert frank May 10, 2011 at 05:31 PM
Not So Fast! Could it be that the Mayor was offered a $120,000.00 a year job in exchange for passing the bloated school budget? Someone should find out.
Joe Mama May 12, 2011 at 02:44 PM
I believe the board of finance has the final say on all budget issues. There, someone has found out! Can't you just leave it alone and not make it a political conspiracy. For God sakes do you think anyone would be so stupid.
J May 13, 2011 at 05:11 AM
I believe the Mayor appoints the Board of Finance and the Board of Aldemen has the final say on all budget issues. How can this political appointment be good for our city? Why wouldn't they hire a candidate who already has the required certification and is available now? If anyone does not think this is a political handout, they are either very naive, or new to Milford.
Audra Wilder May 13, 2011 at 01:48 PM
I'm happy to see Jim continue to serve Milford as he has done for many many years. Lunch - well that's great if they improvement but I am sure we can all manage to pack healthy lunches at home for our children - I think we should be still focusing on the budget cuts that will affect our children's educational developments.
robert frank May 13, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Well he left the city of Milford with $12.5Million in debt payments. The highest credit card bill this city has ever had. BTW this debt service is about 20% of every dollar we pay in tax. Maybe now we can get someone in the Mayors office who does not charge todays expenses to tomorrows kids.

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