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'They Do It for the Love Of Their Jobs'

Ceremony honors town employees for years of service.

Animal Control Officer Ed Risko with beaver exclusion devices outside the animal shelter on Purdy Hill Road.
Animal Control Officer Ed Risko with beaver exclusion devices outside the animal shelter on Purdy Hill Road.
Ed Risko has been taking in strays and adopting out dogs, enforcing licenses and tracking the movements of black bears, coyotes, bobcats and deer in town for the past 35 years. As Monroe's animal control officer, Risko also helps residents with flooding problems caused by beavers.

Risko was among the town's most tenured employees earning recognition for reaching career milestones in an annual ceremony at Monroe Town Hall Thursday morning.

Scott Rose, a maintainer for Public Works, has worked to improve town roads for 30 years and two Monroe police officers reached the quarter-century mark: Sgt. John Butler and Officer Mark Caulfield, who also patrols Lake Zoar.

"We do have some great employees that don't do it for the money," First Selectman Steve Vavrek said. "They do it for the love of their jobs. They come in with smiles on. These are public service people, who are expected to be courteous and attentive — and I think people get that every day."

"I like to encourage a family atmosphere, where people like working here and get recognized," Vavrek added.

Human Resources Dir. Catherine Lombardi organized the event, held in the Town Council Chambers. Though it only honors the town's full-time staff, she said the part-timers' contributions do not go unnoticed.

"We want to acknowledge our part-time employees too," Lombardi said. "Without them, we couldn't function. They're a huge support to the town."

Serving the town for 15 years were Edith Wheeler Memorial Library staffer Anne Bath, Doris Bolduc who works in the Monroe Police Department's Records Department, Parks Maintenance Supervisor Russell Tice who's in charge of Wolfe Park's facilities, and Police Chief John Salvatore.

In his 15 years as police chief, Salvatore strives to run an accredited department with professionalism and he recently oversaw completion of a massive renovation and addition project.

Sandy Stochmal, administrative assistant to the police chief, has helped keep the police station running smoothly for the past decade.

Others celebrating their 10th year were Assessor Elizabeth Duffy who's in charge of revaluations among her duties and Matthew Cunningham, a custodian who keeps town hall clean.

Barbara Yeager, the town's social services and senior center director, was honored for her fifth year. Aside from her regular responsibilities, Yeager has dedicated her time to keeping the Monroe Senior Center operating as an emergency shelter during major storms and has assisted families displaced by house fires with getting clothing and finding temporary housing.

Public Works Maintainer Paul Zelanin, Police Officer Brooke Larsen and Librarian Lorna Rhyins were also recognized for five years of service. Rhyins heads up the teen services and jobs programs at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.

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