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Vavrek Tells EDC Commissioners to Do Their Jobs

The first selectman explained his handling of economic development duties and told EDC Commissioners that those who don't get their own jobs done will be replaced.

First Selectman Steve Vavrek, who also handles the role of economic development coordinator, told Economic Development Commissioners he promotes Monroe's interests "24/7", doesn't "eat lunch" and "never sleeps" while performing his duties for the town — and he expects to see production out of all of them too.

"Do what other economic development commissions do or we'll get new people," Vavrek said during the EDC meeting Wednesday night. "If you're not getting the chairman's assignments done, whether it be R's, D's or U's, you have to be replaced."

Ever since Vavrek de-funded the economic development coordinator position two years ago, town Democrats have been advocating for a full-time coordinator, while Vavrek and fellow Republicans contend that it's not necessary and that most Connecticut towns and cities don't have one either.

"It's part of the job I do every day," Vavrek said of the responsibilities. "What I need is to have the EDC on board. I'm getting the job done and we're saving $40,000."

Vavrek said Monroe has 44 commercial vacancies, which he says is less than a couple of blocks in Hartford and Bridgeport, which have paid coordinators.

Of the reasons for Monroe's vacancies, the first selectman said "the economy's bad" and "we're getting taxed up the wazoo."

Vavrek said Monroe is redoing its zoning regulations, adding he will cut the town budget proposal for 2013-14 by $500,000 to $600,000 before presenting it next month, "because it ain't gonna pass as is."

'I'm Reporting to Myself'

On Wednesday night, Vavrek recited the economic development coordinator's responsibilities to the EDC.

He said the coordinator is supposed to be a staff resource to the commission. While Vavrek conceded that he does not attend all of the EDC's meetings, he said, "Four people come to see me on a regular basis. A couple do not."

The coordinator is supposed to report to the first selectman. "So I'm reporting to myself," Vavrek said.

The coordinator acts as a liaison to local, state and regional groups, which Vavrek said is already part of his job, adding he goes to regional planning and development meetings.

Another responsibility is to promote the town's interests. "Which is something I do 24/7," Vavrek said.

Social Networks

Vavrek said people always talk about getting on networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Using the new overhead projector in Monroe Town Hall conference room 204, Vavrek showed the Monroe Economic Development Facebook page he recently created, which already had 88 "likes." There he posts business related articles and information.

"This is something I was already doing on the Town of Monroe Facebook page, which has 1,853 likes," Vavrek said.

He also has The First Selectman's Corner.

Karin Wynkoop, an EDC member, asked, "Hypothetically, if people aren't on Facebook, they will go to the town site. What is on the town site?"

Vavrek went to the site and clicked on "Economic Development" bringing him to the EDC's page. "The EDC will have to do a little work here also," he said of updating it.

The town website also has links to the Facebook pages and visitors can sign up for Vavrek's email newsletter.

Vavrek said the town of Trumbull's library has a business resource center, so he had one set up at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe.

In his own emails, he set up a signature with links to all of the online resources. Vavrek said it was time consuming to do, adding, "It's a good thing I don't eat lunch and never sleep."

jim laguardia January 31, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Just who are the folks on the commission? Are they paid? Are they volunteer?? If I missed that I am sorry....
Gerald M. Gaynor January 31, 2013 at 12:01 PM
EDC in Monroe has always seen their job to be preventing anything resembling economic development in town. If that has been their goal they are doing a fine job. One need only drive into Shelton or Trumbull to see how it is done elsewhere. The spellcheck version is always preferable...
Bill Bittar (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 01:58 PM
They're unpaid volunteers.
Donna Gail January 31, 2013 at 02:01 PM
The EDC commissioners are unpaid volunteers. Vavrek is getting paid. The Commission has been doing all it can with no budget and no guidance from Vavrek. And let's not forget that a few short years ago, Vavrek was trying to make the EDC director a PAID job for his friend. When he brought her on as volunteer EDC coordinator, he even said he was hoping it would be a paid position soon. About the ONLY thing he does as our paid first selectman is spend time on all his various web sites and facebook pages.
Cara J. Kramer January 31, 2013 at 02:08 PM
So since Mr. Vavrek doesn't make it to most of the EDC meetings, he expects the volunteer commissioners to come by town hall and "visit" him during the day? What if they have jobs or other responsibilities? Has he expressed to all of them that they should visit him separately? Why not meet with them when they are all together as a commission? Sounds like he's making a mockery of them. I know several of the commissioners and they are very serious about trying to give Monroe's economic development a boost. He probably gives them no cooperation or support.
James Wadsworth January 31, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Sounds to me like Vavrek is looking for someone to blame. Vavrek has handled the economic development issue poorly as can be seen throughout town. Now he needs to point a finger. Blame and more of the same.
Nancy Zorena January 31, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Trumbull and Shelton have sewer systems. There are limitations to what we can attract without such a system.
Rt25 January 31, 2013 at 02:36 PM
I know he thinks he is King - Commissioner's resign!
jim laguardia January 31, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Come on take it easy on him..... He was just using the old tried but true leadership motivational phrase, say it with me "THE BUCK STOPS WITH....... ALL OF YOU!!!
Barney January 31, 2013 at 05:11 PM
We aint need any economic development in this town. There already be too much developing going on here. The folks on the planning and zoning are making sure no new business come to town and that be the way it be needing to be. The interlopers and education lovers be ruining this town. Interlopers be needing to understand us folks who been here over 40 years know what be best for Monroe. Things be fine 40 years ago. We aint need economic development then. Now all these education lovers and interlopers be moving in and all of a sudden we need economic development to support their education loving. I aint be supporting economic development. Things be fine 40 years ago without economic development and that means things will be fine now without it too.
Schap January 31, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Having attended the EDC meeting last night, I thought the F/S comments were condescending and threatening to a group of volunteers to this town. If he is the economic development coordinator you would think that he would at least stay at the meeting since it was the annual elections for chairman, vice chairman and secretary. It would of been nice if he had stayed congratulated the new chairman and thanked the out going chair that has covered his ass for the past four years and has given 10 years of volunteering to the Monroe community. Unfortuately it is all about our so called leader. I believe the reporter, has not stated one item correctly in as much as he paints the problem between "D" and "R" when it comes to advocating for an EDC coordinator when I have been outspoken the past 6 years that there is a benefit to that position. I spent 25 years on the commission and I believe regardless of the economy having a coordinator in the office available full time has been beneficial to the town. Our F/S states that very few towns have full time EDC personnel, but I believe the surrounding towns of Trumbull and Newtown have outstanding new directors that are doing a great job compared to Monroe's coordinator.
Steve Kirsch January 31, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Schap, who was elected? Why did the FS not stay? Was all of the business finished when he left (except for the elections)?
Schap January 31, 2013 at 06:11 PM
@steve K. He didn't stay for any of the meeting except to do "his" presentation. I believe his daughter was home. Roberto Perez, Chairman, Paul Moyse, Vice Chairman and Anthony secretary.
Alex January 31, 2013 at 06:49 PM
At least he's being honest with the budget that he thinks it won't even pass in the current form. Threatening replacement of volunteers won't accomplish anything tho, especially if there is no one to replace them with. If we want a paid EDC position, then we need to cut from other areas to make the funds available it would seem. Personally I think our town is struggling to attract favorable businesses for obvious reasons that we don't need to pay someone to point out. As Nancy pointed out above, sewers is a big issue for larger companies to move in. Another is our property tax rate in relation to surrounding towns. Sure we are now slightly under Trumbull's mil rate, but they have sewers (I'd take sewers for a 1.45pt mil rate increase!). Larger companies simply want the biggest bang for their buck, if they are looking to move. Till then, I see pizza places, nail salons, and gas stations as our new businesses. Do we even know what this paid EDC would do that would be worth the investment? Or are we just betting that if we pay someone to do the job, they'll generate ideas to attract businesses? Didn't we already do that in the past?
Fake Jimmy Pursey January 31, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Jim, I have two names now. This one and Keith Levene. Now I can comment as multiple profiles and no one will know.
Michael Raimondi January 31, 2013 at 08:06 PM
I say hats off to Mr.Vavrek, since he has done a fine job and to me is always looking to make improvements. I think that after so many years of Democratic first selectman,and might add ,very little got done. The roads have improves 100% along with the DPW working hard and doing a great job. Sounds like some have sour grapes taste because a Republican is doing his job. Just saying.
jim laguardia January 31, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Please don't involve me in your weird game of tag..... We like our own brand of crazy here in Monroe....
Michael Raimondi January 31, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Well said Alex, and your right about the paid person, nothing was accomplished. But ,and I know thlis is a hot topic, but its sewers and storm drains that have to be reconded with, I know its expensive to build being in heavy construction in NYC,but sadly, that's what is needed. and who ever stated look at Shelton and Trumbull, right on the money, but you can't have big enterprises with septic, It cannot handle the volume..Let me make this point tho, all the septic pumpers wind up in the B'Port facility, so it is not the volume why they state they can't have anymore, trust my experience on this one, volume is volume sewer wise, trucks or individual flushes are the same. It's the expense to get it going just like burying the power lines, This wind storm 50-60mph took out 17% of Monroe power,guess what, it is going to happen over and over unless the CP&L and the town get together and once in for all bury the lines.....Same with the development, Septics all over town are busting out if you have noticed, it's a matter of time....
jim laguardia January 31, 2013 at 11:01 PM
I am sorry please don't expect me to take part in any of those games
jim laguardia February 01, 2013 at 04:44 PM
@jimmy, Please do not try to engage me in your weird game of tag with them, I am not interested.... Thank you
jim laguardia February 01, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Since my replies above are still in the "pending approval" zone let me try this ....@jimmy please don't expect me to engage in your weird games with those other people, I am not interested. Thank you
jim laguardia February 01, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Hats off to him???? He reprimanded unpaid volunteers, then left them to do the little work
Peter Woods February 03, 2013 at 10:00 PM
I love the headline "Vavrek tells EDC Commissioners to do their jobs" What a joke ....everyone at Town Hall knows he does nothing, is not there half the time, and when he is, he's electioneering! Why doesn't he do his job? Attend the EDC Meetings if you're the EDC Director. Volunteers on the commission shouldn't have to go to your office; after all, they probably work full time!!!!!
jim laguardia February 04, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Peter don't be so hard on him, don't forget he had 6 "freinds" just vote for him to do this second job for free.... and besides Facebook takes a lot of time (I should know) it is hard that he has to wait in his office for them to come in with their tasks completed

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