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Letter to the Editor: From Lizz Milardo

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We need to focus on the issues

October 30, 2015

To my friends and neighbors,

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between the rhetoric of one candidate and another. If you’ve been reading Facebook, the Haddam Bulletin, HaddamNow and some of the other places online, there’s been a lot of negativity between supporters over the past few weeks, on both sides.

Sometimes, in the heated election season we can all lose sight of what’s important. Candidates can forget that they work for the people and not simply to get elected or re-elected. I’m not a fan of that kind of politics, but I understand why this occurs. I understand why people are quick to point fingers, shade the truth, spin and twist words. That may work in Washington and in Hartford. But it does not and should not work that way here.

Here in Haddam, we share a common set of core values around family, community, and hard work. We share space at our children’s and grandchildren’s soccer games, baseball games, and recitals. We share time with each other at the Farmer’s Market, at the bank, at a barbeque and the various pasta dinners we have throughout the year.

We come to each other’s aid when one of us is down. Haddam is a special place. We have outstanding schools and great neighbors who share a common character, sense of integrity and commitment to serve our fellow neighbors. This is why Ted and I settled our family here more than a quarter century ago. This is why I continue to be active in the community.

This is why I built my business here, serving our neighbors to help them meet their financial goals and to help them achieve their plans for the future. This is why I got into this race for First Selectman. I am running because I believe we can do better. I believe we can be more. I believe, instead of living day-to-day, paycheck-to paycheck, we can thrive, together.

With that in mind, I want to cut through the political speak and negative talk. I owe it to you all, my friends and neighbors, to specifically lay out my vision and plans for Haddam, if I am fortunate enough to earn your vote on Election Day.

Here is my commitment to you to get Haddam back on the right track:

  • I WILL understand and recognize that “I” cannot get Haddam back on the right track alone. WE WILL do this together. I do not care if you are a registered Democrat, Republican, Independent or a member of another party. If you have a good idea and the idea serves the best interests of our town, I will listen to you and I will work with you to implement your idea.
  • I WILL always listen to your questions, needs and concerns and I WILL follow up to get you the answers you need and follow-through on every commitment I make to you, without exception.
  • I WILL immediately revive the plan already negotiated by PaulDeStefano’s administration to solve the cell phone service coverage issue. We will work to have this solved within the first year of my administration. Sooner, if possible.
  • I WILL immediately revive the plan already negotiated by Paul DeStefano’s administration with the State of Connecticut to, once and for all, solve the water problem in Tylerville. We will make this happen within the first 18 months of my administration. Sooner, if possible.
  • I WILL immediately eliminate any and all secret and opaque task forces, as well as the partisan political culture that inhabits Town Hall today. I WILL lead the fine people at Town Hall to, once again, become one cohesive team dedicated to serving your needs.
  • I WILL use Haddam’s town website to provide full and complete transparency into your town government, within my first 90 days in office.

This means:

–   We will develop a town contact database, which you can choose to join. This database will enable us to communicate with you and to let you know when every town meeting and event is happening. We want you informed and involved in the decisions we make.

–   We will create an online town forum for people to tell us your ideas, your needs and your concerns. I want to understand how you’re doing, what keeps you up at night and how we can help you.

–    We will record and post every town meeting online. I want you to stay informed, even if you cannot attend these meetings in person.

That said, I encourage you to attend in person, when possible, so we can address your questions, needs, requests and concerns faster and more efficiently.

These online meeting postings will include:

  • Board of Selectmen
  • Board of Finance
  • Board of Education
  • All Town Commissions

We will also provide a forum for you to ask questions of each Board and Commission online;

We will create time on the agenda for each Board meeting to address those questions before, during or as soon after the meeting as possible.

  • I WILL immediately begin to mend and rebuild the broken relationships between the First Selectman’s office and the Board of Finance, Board of Education, Fire Department and other important town Boards and Commissions. I want to help us all get on the same page to better serve the people of Haddam.
  • I WILL leverage my experience as a business owner and my relationships as member of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to help our business owners grow through:

–    Engaging business owners and Haddam business experts to learn from their best ideas to help each other grow;

–   Creating and implementing a “Buy Haddam” campaign to encourage our townspeople to buy locally;

–   Working with existing building owners to find ways to fill their vacant properties with thriving new businesses and encourage real estate investors to see the hidden gem that Haddam truly is;

–   Improve Haddam’s technology infrastructure to entice entrepreneurs to come to Haddam to start make their new business ideas come to life.

  • I WILL re-engineer how Haddam buys goods and services by implementing a professional Strategic Sourcing and procurement process designed to leverage our buying power across the town to negotiate better terms and drive down our costs. This will be accomplished within my first 90 days in office.

I will also work with the leaders of Middletown, East Haddam and other surrounding towns to create a buying consortium to leverage our collective buying power and become more efficient to lower our collective costs across all town Operations, Boards and Commissions.

  • I WILL work to attract new complementary businesses that fit in with our quaint, small town culture by:

o      Working with the Board of Education to market the high quality of our school system to attract new businesses and new families to Haddam. We need to recognize that our quality of life and the value of our homes is directly tied to the quality of our schools.

This effort will rebuild and broaden our tax base and help sell down the inventory of homes for sale in town. It will also begin to increase the value of our homes, once again.

o      Creating incentives for businesses to move into Haddam or expand into Haddam through a partnership with the community to market these new businesses and help them get off the ground quickly, cost-effectively, and efficiently.

  • I WILL collaborate with the Board of Education to:

o      Find new ways to use inexpensive technology to automate manual processes so we can do more with the same or smaller headcount;

o      To leverage the professional experience and expertise of the people in town to help find other process efficiencies;

o      To identify opportunities to outsource certain expense areas;

o      To take advantage of our new Strategic Sourcing and Procurement processes to help lower expenses and avoid unnecessary spending, where possible.

  • I WILL meet with our Public Works team to refocus our town plan to fix our deteriorating roads and will post that plan online for everyone to review, ask questions, and voice concerns. We will prioritize this work by the roads most in need, first.

We will lower our costs by using new technologies, where appropriate, which can be put in place faster and will last as long (or longer) than conventional full resurfacing processes.

  • I WILL immediately convene an open and transparent public commission comprised of Haddam townspeople, Haddam business owners and local, trusted professionals and developers to finalize a plan to revitalize our village centers.

This plan will take advantage of new technologies to cost-effectively update our town services and properties, eliminate cost where possible, and grow our town services to make everyone lives better and easier.

Together, we will:

o     Address infrastructure issues;

o     Solve the water issue in Tylerville;

o     Solve the sewer issue in Higganum;

o      Ensure the plan preserves the character of our community.

  • I WILL work closely with Haddam’s First Responders to make certain they have the support, training, tools and resources they need to continue to protect and serve the citizens of Haddam safely and with honor and distinction, as they have for so many years.
  • Most importantly, I WILL work with our neighbors to maintain traditional community gatherings like the weekly Farmer’s arket, the Tree Lighting, Haddam River Days, and many others.

But we will also work with you, to find other ways to get out and get to know each other even better. Our strength comes from the bonds built between each of us and within our community. I will work hard to preserve our fine traditions and help start new ones to continue to make Haddam the special place it is.

Haddam works best when we work together, regardless of political party. I want to be your First Selectman because I know what is needed to make our town thrive, once again.

Whether you vote for me or not, you have my commitment that I will work hard and will treat every single person with respect. I will work with any person able and willing to contribute to the greater good of our town, for the benefit of hard-working people of Haddam.

WE WILL make these plans happen, TOGETHER. I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday November 3rd.

Happy Halloween!

Lizz Milardo


5 Responses to Letter to the Editor: From Lizz Milardo

  1. Steve Bayley

    October 30, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Lizz, does this mean you will disband the transfer station task force?

  2. Lizz Milardo

    October 30, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Steve I am not planning on disbanding any task force that is needed.

  3. Steve Bayley

    October 30, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Lizz, so what do you mean by this statement? “I WILL immediately eliminate any and all secret and opaque task forces”. I am a member of the transfer station task force and am aware of an energy task force. What secret task forces are you referring to? Also, you did not really answer my question. Do you plan to disband the transfer station task force, yes or no?

  4. Steve Bayley

    October 31, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Lizz, I am not trying to be nasty or negative, as chair of the transfer station task force I prefer to know if you intend to disband the task force if elected, so I (and the other volunteers) know how to proceed if you are elected.

    The comment “Steve I am not planning on disbanding any task force that is needed.” is ambiguous. You can get elected, disband the transfer station task force and justify doing so by saying you felt it was not needed. I prefer a yes or no answer, but if the comment above is your official response, I will accept it.

    I am personally curious about what secret task forces you are talking about. Can you name them so the citizens of Haddam are aware of them. Thank you.


  5. Lizz Milardo

    October 31, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Steve, I went to town hall and asked the Town Clerk for a list of the committees and task forces that are in the town over 2 weeks ago. There is no record of ALL of the committees and task forces that are in existence at this point so it is not very transparent as to what committees exist. Each time I attend a BOS meeting I hear we have a task force for it, I wanted to see what the town has in place. This recording is proper procedure in all of our neighboring towns so I am not sure why Haddam does not comply. I did find that the Safety Committee members are hung on a piece of paper on the wall in the town hall break room listed there but not on public record. I am sorry that you need more clarification in my answer, since we have a transfer station in town yes it makes sense to have one. You know as well as I do that some committees are disbanded when a First Selectman is elected so if you are asking me if I will keep you on the task force please come and see me when the time comes. I appreciate the time that you volunteer.