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November 8, 2011 “Election Day,” will be an important day in Milford, Connecticut, after Mayor James Richetelli declines re-election. He has been this city’s mayor for ten years, making him the ninth mayor. Instead of re-electing for his sixth term, Richetelli has accepted the position of “Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations,” beating about thirty applicants despite having minimal experience in education. However, he may encounter a problem even before stepping foot in his new position.
State Department of Education states that Richetelli lacks the required state certification for his new job as the school department finance director. The School Business Administration Certificate requires experience and background in finance and related areas that cannot be acquired through job experience. Nancy Cole, president of the Connecticut Association of School Business Officials, said that it is “college-level course work that determines whether a person can be certified for the job. The requirement is at least a bachelor’s degree with the following core courses: education law, education finance, collective bargaining and personnel” (CTpost).
Though the contract has not been signed, if he is accepted into this position, he would be earning a salary of $133,000 a year, a $40,000 increase over his salary of $93,500/year as mayor. The only downside is that Richetelli will not be part of the teachers’ retirement program on the fair basis that he will not be a teacher, though with a salary that high, there should be no problem. While this could be a big thumbs-up for the Richetelli family, Milford residents are less than positive of this news. For someone of his statue, residents are skeptical as to why he would give up being a mayor for a school administration position. Also, they are worried that while he may have the job experience in finance with mayor position, becoming the deputy superintendent of finance and operations is a completely different role, meaning that now he has the school department’s finances to handle. Local Democratic party chairman, Richard Smith, feels that by staying as the mayor, Richetelli has the power to help improve the 2011-2012 school budget by initiating transfers to the Board of Education.
Personally, I’ve always liked Mayor Richetelli. He has transformed the city of Milford in a magnificent place to live. He has always been approachable and willing to talk to his residents. For as long as I can remember, he has been the mayor of this city and to see him leave is a tremendous loss. However, I think that he should been given special privileges in taking his new position. There is a reason why there is a criterion for such a position and to disregard it based on the fact that he has been a mayor just falls back on giving special treatment to those with the power. Superintendent Elizabeth Feser stated that “we have a clearly defined process, and there was not a single modification made for the mayor” (CTpost). I just hope that she stands by her statement and/or Richetelli gets the credentials before he takes the position or there may be more residents upset.
Image Courtesy: Mayor James Richetelli