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Groton City Council candidates: Biographies and answers to The Day's questions

Published May 02. 2013 4:00AM   Updated May 02. 2013 9:39AM
Contributed
Michael Ronald Boucher

Name: Michael Ronald Boucher

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired from Pfizer Research

Email: mboucher4959@tvcconnect.net

Age: 59

Incumbent? No

Family: Wife Germaine, daughters Heather and Betsy, grandson Kai

Education: High School graduate, post high school education

Civic Involvement: Gales Ferry Volunteer fireman, Medical First Responder, Sunday School teacher, coach for girls softball, soccer, track and field and cross country. Director: Pfizer Triathlon, 5X1 Relay Race and Pfizer Running Team. Very involved in the New London Eminent Domain issue on the side of the homeowners, Eastern Point House Tours 2007 and 2009. Ledge Light Lighthouse tour guide and restoration, Treasurer Groton Historical Society, EPPOA Historian, Friends of the Zbierski House.

Offices held: Ledyard Park and Recreation commissioner, Eastern Point Historic District commissioner.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

First of all let me state that sharing services is not the same as consolidation. We have a serious revenue shortfall and this situation will only worsen in the future. The City and Town must start to work together now. I would suggest that monthly meetings between the two start immediately. Most importantly, tax payers need to be educated on the benefits of shared services in order to decide how the Town and City move forward.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: 1: Reduced revenues from GU, Pfizer, town and state.

2: Present management of Groton Utilities. There must be taxpayer oversight of the operation of GU and how its profits are used.

3: Lack of involvement by city residents in city government. City issues must be brought to the people. If City residents don't come to our Mayor and Council meetings then as Councilor, I will go to them.

Q:Why did you decide to run for council?

A: The very poor management of the whole Thames Valley Communications business from start to finish. The more I asked questions the deeper the problem became. I had to step up because nothing was being done to correct the core problem. In fact the same abuse of power that gave us the TVC debt was still in place. Neither I, my children nor my children's children should have to pay for the mistakes of so few.

Name: Jay Dempsey

Party: Republican

Occupation: Professional land surveyor

Email: Jay@99main.com

Age: 57

Incumbent? No

Family: Wife, Rhonda and daughter Rachael

Education: BS in Business/Accounting from ECSU

Civic Involvement: Current president Eastern Point Property Owners Assoc.

Offices held: None

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I am for shared services and sharing equipment. There needs to be more conversation and "working together" between the town and city. Let police and public works on both sides form a task force to come up with cost saving measures. The officers and employees should be assured that the end result is not driven by staffing cuts, but to attain cost savings in the Town and City. Through attrition staffing may be adjusted.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: "Taxpayer oversight of Groton Utilities." Our current system of checks and balances failed us on the financial side relating to TVC and Groton Utilities.

"Economic Development and Jobs." We need to encourage new business, not discourage it.

"Depressed properties" in commercial and residential areas. We need a program that works to clean up blighted properties of the city with incentives for homeowners & landlords. Let's work together to clean up this City.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: The lack of accountability from the Mayor & Council, TVC Board of Directors & management and Groton Utilities Commission and management. 59 executive sessions protecting "trade secrets" that turned out to be worthless. Lack of transparency. Overuse of attorneys and squashing citizens petition. Their failure to act on TVC before it was too late and the overall secrecy and handling of the "fire sale" of the company. No changes made to management or GU commission. That is unacceptable.

Name: Gina Fafard

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Executive director of the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication, New London

Email: gina@fafnet.org

Incumbent: No

Family: Married to Bruce Fafard; three daughters, Sarah, Lydia and Anna

Education: Bachelor's in Fine Arts, Master's in Education both from Southern Connecticut State University. 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University.

Offices held: City of Groton Charter Revision Committee 2011-12

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I believe it is certainly worthwhile to look for more efficient ways to provide services for residents of both the City and the Town of Groton, but this will take collaboration and willingness from both sides to work on a strategic plan of action that insures long-range sustainability. We also would want to provide a management system that will insure that quality services continue over time for the residents of the City.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: In my opinion the three pressing issues facing the City of Groton are:

1. Economic development, which will help the community grow and prosper by creating incentives to encourage small and large businesses to set up shop here.

2. Financial stability, which will be a result of greater economic development that diversifies our tax base.

3. Maintaining and improving the quality of life services which we currently enjoy in the City such as our parks, beach and public services.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: I decided to run for council because I am excited about the progress that Marian Galbraith and the Council have been making over the past two years. We finally have a leadership team that's taking care of business for our residents - a team that has creativity, vision, and absolute dedication. I am dedicated to the development of more programs and initiatives for our City's youth, and I am willing to pursue grants and community partnerships to make it happen! Business development is another key area that I would like to support. With the upcoming renovation efforts on Thames Street, along with our historical sites and parks, we have the opportunity to make the City of Groton a thriving "go-to" destination for visitors and residents alike! If we can create incentives to attract small businesses to our City we can create a broader tax base that will help all of our City residents.

I want to contribute to the ongoing progress as part of that team.

Name: Larry Gerrish

Party: Democratic

Occupation: Retired former police chief.

E-mail: lbgerrish@tvcconnect.net

Age: 74

Incumbent? Yes

Family: Married; 2 sons and 4 grandchildren

Education: Bachelor's in Business Administration

Civic involvement: St. Mark's Church, Thames Valley Council for Community Action

Offices held: City Council 2011; chairman, Bulky Waste Committee 2003.

Other government service: 8 years U.S. Army National Guard

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I am opposed to consolidation - but open to any areas of mutual aid or sharing of services.

Q: What are most important issues facing City of Groton?

A: The glaring issues are what direction Pfizer will be going. City needs to have a close working relationship with Pfizer. Cooperation with Electric Boat and help where it can to encourage future work there. Keeping service to it's residents high and taxes low.

Q: Why did you decide to run for Council?

A: I was a police officer for 40 years, retiring as Chief of police. I worked daily with the concerns and needs of people. I feel as a Councilor that I am still in a position to serve and help our residents. I have a strong feeling for our City and its residents.

Name: Keith Hedrick

Party: Republican

Occupation: Operations Manager - URS

Email: khedrick819@sbcglobal.net

Age: 53

Incumbent? Yes

Family: Married to Joyce Hedrick for 22 years

Education: B.S. in Workforce Education, Southern Illinois University; Master's in Business Administration, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Civic Involvement: Past Chairman City Harbor Management Committee; Chairman Community & Economic Development Committee (CEDC); City of Groton Republican Committee, Chairman; RTM Education Committee, Chairman; City Finance Group Committee; City Community Development Group Committee, past chairman; RTM Finance Committee, past member RTM Public Works Committee; Friends of Thames Street; City Public Works Group Committee; Past Chairman City Parks & Recreation Group Committee.

Offices held: Representative Town Meeting (RTM) (incumbent);City of Groton Council (incumbent).

Other government service: U.S. Navy Veteran 1977-2000.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: We should look at shared services within the Town and City of Groton. Shared service is not consolidation, which I cannot support until I see a study indicating savings and continued services. Shared services if conducted correctly can save taxpayers money and maintain level of services. I would support a joint committee of Town and City Councilors, experts in the service and the general public to determine which services to share and how to share them.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: 1. The loss of revenue from our largest taxpayers, Pfizer and Electric Boat, due to demolition of buildings thus lowering the Grand List is a big issue due to the potential to either force drastic cuts in services or cause significant raises in taxes. I am also concerned about the continued cutting of financial obligations to the City Highway and Police budgets by the Town Council and RTM.

2. Maintaining the level of services; Police, Fire, Public Works, etc. in light of tough fiscal times facing us in the City of Groton

3. Economic Development within the City of Groton. The CEDC is looking at ways to encourage businesses to come to the City. We need to become more business friendly and help businesses with establishment within the City of Groton.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: The City of Groton is a great place to live. It has many amenities which draw people to our community. We have our challenges and our problems. I want to give back to the community and be part of the solution. I want to be part of something greater than myself. The City is a wonderful place to live.

Name: Lori Hesch

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Former substitute teacher, reading tutor and volunteer Groton Public Schools.

Age: 54

Incumbent? No

Family: Married to Kurt Hesch, three children and two grandchildren.

Education: Castleton State College, B.S. in elementary education; University of Vermont, early childhood/ human development.

Civic Involvement: Sacred Heart Church choir member, City Democratic Committee

Offices held: One term Groton City Councilor; One term Groton Town representative Town Meeting, two years on the City of Groton Conservation Commission.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I think from what I've learned…it is in the best financial interest of the city to keep everything separate though there may be a little work done on dispatch.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: Let's face it Marian took care of TVC the best she could. And we got our fourth firefighter. Right now Thames Street work is going to help to make it more business friendly. There's work to be done in the city in enforcing the blight ordinance. With the economic crash there are a lot of properties not being taken care of.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: I've been a resident for 30 years. I have children in the city and grandchildren in the city. I want to make it a nice pleasant place to live. I feel like I'm a person that makes good choices and has good judgment.

Name: Andy Ilvento

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Educator

Email: andrew.ilvento@gmail.com

Age: 25

Incumbent? Yes. Appointed Oct. 2012 to fill out former Councilor Amy Moncy term, but this is my first run for a full term.

Family: Dad, Two Sisters, 1 Nephew, 2 Nieces

Education: Groton Public Schools, Robert E. Fitch Sr. High School, B.A., Roger Williams University

Civic involvement: elected/appointed offices: City of Groton Councilor; Community Development Committee chairperson; Parks & Recreation & Finance Committee (incumbent); Youth Advisory Committee; City of Groton Democratic Committee; West Side Middle School PTO president; Roger Williams University Student Ambassador (2008-2010); University Student Senate, Academic Affairs Committee, Student Representative (2007-2010)

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I do not support consolidation, but I do support shared services to best use resources, when it is done fairly and in the best interest of all residents. We must work together and not haphazardly make decisions for, in some case, political reasons. I appreciate the services, safety, and quality of life provided in the City. I will always work to protect and enhance that.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: Preservation and enhancement of the quality of life and services that residents have come to expect, while creating efficiencies and keeping taxes low.

• Development and support of local businesses to stimulate the local economy and enhance our community.

•Support of our youth through expansion and development of programs to create positive experiences that will enhance their lives and encourage them to become active members of our community.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: I have a strong commitment to the City of Groton. Growing up here provided me with many opportunities that allowed me to achieve success. I want to preserve and enhance the quality of life residents expect and enjoy. I want my age group to have a voice in our community and get things done. I also want people get engaged in their government and community, if we work together we get things done!

Name: William Jervis

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired police lieutenant, 34-year veteran of Town of Groton Police Department.

Email: bill@jervis.com

Age: 66

Incumbent? Yes

Family: Married to Joyce, three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Education: BS in Sociology, MS in Management.

Civic Involvement: Co-Founder Groton Maritime Academy; Past President, Maritime Education Academy; Past President Groton Kiwis; Groton Adolescent Substance Abuse and PreventionCommittee; former board member of Womens Center of Southeastern Connecticut.

Offices held: Two-term on Groton City Council, chairman of Public Safety Committee.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I know The Day's stance on this but I can't pander to it. Look at the statistics. We have three times more assaults in the City per 100,000 than the Town does. The Town wants the City to share its dispatch. That means a more expensive officer would need to be in the City station to watch prisoners and be there for the public. Many of the highway crew are sanitation workers too. It's complicated.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: Number 1: A shrinking industrial tax base. Pfizer's future in Groton is nebulous at best and its willingness to work with the community on any transition has not been completely earnest.

Number 2 involves Quantum Merit; we aren't getting our fare share from the Town. For example, Groton citizens pay the Town $369 for police; City residents get $222 back.

Number 3: Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department's problems could seriously affect mutual aid with the City.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: As a lieutenant on the Town Police, I ran the Community Policing program. I became involved as member of the Founder's Group of the Groton Business Association, was a cofounder of GASP, was a Women's Center of SECT board member, to name just a few organizations. I continued when I retired, becoming president of the Boys and Girls Club of SECT. I care about the community and found that my involvement could make a difference.

Name: Jackie Massett

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired

Email: massettjb@yahoo.com

Age: 67

Incumbent? No

Family: Husband, Stephen; 2 children; 1 grandchild

Civic Involvement: Vice-chair Ledgelight Health District; Co-chair African-American Health Council of Southeastern CT; Southern CT. Asthma Partnership; Noank Group Homes and Support Services Board of Directors.

Offices held: Groton City Ethics Commission; Groton City Council; Groton Town Council Public Safety Committee; Environmental Committee, Public Works Committee; RTM member-District 2 ; RTM Republican Floor Leader; Chair of Rules and Procedures Committee; RTM Education Committee.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police works departments?

A: In the New London Day on April 26, 1993, I was quoted as saying…" People in Groton and other communities will have to get used to making do with less and will have to collaborate more"…The time has come for a discussion about sharing services, which in the end would be beneficial to all, both Groton City and Groton Town. The time for collaboration is here.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton ?

A: A) Loss of revenue from Pfizer and Electric Boat that will only get worse.

B) Lack of comprehensive plan to bring businesses into the City, to broaden our tax base.

C) A perceived unwillingness on both the City and the Town leaders to have discussions on the sharing of services, except at budget time.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: In light of recent events (TVC; Pfizer: Electric Boat). I feel that I have the obligation to work with others to do what is best for all of the citizens and taxpayers in Groton.

Name: Stephen Sheffield

Party: Democrat

Incumbent? No

Occupation: Clerk in the Office of the State's Attorney in New London and assistant head of cash department of Stop & Shop in Groton.

Age: 50

Incumbent? No

Family: Single

Education: B.S. in finance from Central Connecticut State University; Paralegal certificate from the National Academy for Paralegal Studies, West Hartford.

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: I'm against the consolidation of the town with the city as far as police services and public works. We want to maintain our services for the city residents.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: Maintaining a budget in which we maintain our city services is the most pressing issue at the moment. We just signed off on the project on Thames Street. That's an important issue for helping with growth in business and job creation. Our community youth is another real issue. We need to maintain youth programs and education services for the kids.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: I was requested to run while at Stop & Shop out of the blue. I gave it some thought and thought it was a good opportunity to serve the community. The last time I ran for anything was sixth-grade class president.

Name: Kevin G. Trejo

Party: Republican

Occupation: U.S. Postal Service, New York City; Master Inventory Auditor, Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.

Email: kgt88@aol.com

Age: 62

Family: Wife, 2 daughters, 2 grandchildren

Education: High school graduate

Incumbent? No

Civic Involvement: U.S. Army Veteran - Vietnam Service; chairman, Town of Groton Republican Committee; Groton Adolescence Substance Prevention; Friends of Thames Street; vice-chairman, Friends of Affordable Education; officer in Sound Breeze of Groton Condominium Assoc.; chairman, Children First Groton; co-founder and executive officer, Taxpayers for Groton Schools; president/co-chairman - Parent Teacher Organization & Falcon Music Boosters; Groton School Improvement Team.

Offices held: Groton RTM; Groton School Facilities Task Force;

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: If the Town and the City can sit down and share some services (not consolidation) that would benefit the Taxpayers of Groton (City & Town) it could be wonderful.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: Public Safety is always a main priority (police, fire etc.). Accountability, with an efficient government as it moves into the future while treating all residents and businesses fairly and as equals and seeking their input.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: I know with my past skills and knowledge I can bring a better vision to the Council, the City Taxpayers and its residents. As we strengthen our City we can't afford to make the mistakes of the past. A different Mayor and Council with a new vision is important not to repeat the same mistakes. I would like to be part of that team.

Name: Robert L. Zuliani

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired Accountant

Email: mrzuli25@gmail.com

Age: 66

Incumbent? No

Family: One son, two grandchildren

Education: B.S. in accounting - Bentley College

Civic Involvement: 2012 co-chairman City of Groton Charter Revision Commission; City of Groton Ethics Board; Board of Trustees, Bill Memorial Library; Town Enterprise Zone Advisory Committee.

Offices held: City of Groton Council; Town of Groton Board of Education; Finance Committee chairman; Negotiations Committee chairman

Q: What is your view of the town's request for more shared services such as the town and city police and public works departments?

A: If shared services resulting in realistic reduced cost for both Town and City without reducing service quality and public safety, then let's work together and accomplish that goal. As long as autonomy over City operating functions remains while keep the ability of the City to regulate provided services desired by City residents.

Q: What are the three most pressing issues facing the City of Groton?

A: 1. Develop a permanent resolution between the City and Town regarding financial responsibility for the City Police and Highway Department budgets. 2. Monitor the demolition of Pfizer building 118 and the long term financial and environmental impact it will have on the City of Groton. 3. Move the dedevelopment and restoration of Thames St. along as quickly and safely as possible with as little impact to the residents of the City within budget.

Q: Why did you decide to run for council?

A: City residents can no longer afford, nor accept "rubber-stamping" of one way thinking over major important issues and decisions that impact our City. To have healthy and productive government requires equal party representation on the City Council. The City needs open and balanced government through alternative ideas, healthy political debate, and positive programing that benefit the City's future. It's through balanced compromise from opposing positions that produce the best results. One way issues are not healthy for all involved.

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