Inaugural Address

Inaugural Address

Marc J. Garofalo

Mayor of the City of Derby, CT

January 5, 1998

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Congresswoman Kennelly, Congressman Maloney, Congresswoman DeLauro, Senator Crisco, Representative Tonucci, Father Smith, Father Wiktor, members of the Board of Aldermen, Tax Board, Board of Education, public officials, family and friends;

Tonight we celebrate the beginning of a new generation of leadership for the City of Derby - leadership that is firmly committed to making this remarkable city a great place to live, work and raise our children. It is a generation of leadership that will devote its best energies and efforts to restoring pride in our community and in its neighborhoods. When I speak of a new generation I speak, not of age, but of ideas and commitment and of working towards important goals instead of returning to the tired old politics of the past. Tonight, my friends, we begin together on a journey to a bright future for the city that we love.

The leadership team that has sworn its solemn oath tonight understands that our victory in November was less an affirmation of personal or political popularity than it was a decision by the people of Derby to entrust us with the responsibility of getting the job done. That is why I want to state very clearly to all of our citizens that we will begin tomorrow the effort to accomplish what we said we would do when we sought your trust. Too often in politics and government today, people who seek office say one thing before the election and then do different things after assuming office. That is unacceptable in Derby in 1998.

For that reason, I would like to spell out again the goals we set forth during the election campaign which will be the goals of this administration during its first term.

First, we shall demand and we shall accomplish constant improvement in the performance of our educational system. Our test scores will improve, our children will be challenged, and opportunities for their personal growth and development will be provided. As Mayor, I will strongly support the efforts of the leaders of our education system to provide a quality educational opportunity for each child of Derby within reasonable budget levels. However, those same good leaders must understand very clearly that I shall demand and insist upon high levels of performance and success. Success will not be defined by dollars spent but by results achieved. Our children deserve this and they must have it.

Second, we will institute performance-based spending and tax policies. The taxpayers of Derby must feel confident that the municipal government is providing a dollar’s worth of actual services for a dollar of their tax money. We must begin this effort by acknowledging that our $22 million dollar municipal corporation must have a chief financial officer. That is why we must immediately work on establishing a full-time professional, nonpolitical position, with stringent qualification requirements, to oversee our budget and fiscal matters.

Third, we shall achieve measurable progress in our downtown redevelopment. We have had countless pronouncements and press releases about changing our downtown over the last two decades. The time for talk has ended. The time for action has arrived. By working closely with the aldermanic chair of the Downtown Committee, Michael Kelleher, I shall insist upon real activity and real progress. We can reverse the legacy of words and failure and replace it with construction and revitalization.

Fourth, this administration will seek to work very closely with our Police Department to make our neighborhoods safe again. We will work together to identify neighborhoods, blocks and buildings where crime has occurred and clean them up. We shall insist upon strict enforcement and compliance with the building code, fire code, housing code, health code and the basic laws of our City. We will measure our progress not just by crime statistics or the elimination of neighborhood blight, or the reduction of housing density, but also by the sight of children playing safely in the park or elderly people taking a summer stroll without fear or worry.

Finally, we will improve our parks, preserve open space and upgrade our recreational programs. We, as leaders of Derby, will put our children first when it comes to recreation. Clean and safe parks, beautiful open space and recreational opportunities will be available for Derby’s children and families.

We will accomplish these goals for our citizens by recruiting the best people, regardless of political party affiliation, to serve in an administration that conducts the city’s business with integrity, decency, and compassion.

On a personal level, I would like to again thank the people of Derby for putting their faith in this fifth generation son and lifelong resident. I take my responsibilities seriously and fully understand the obligation I have sworn to uphold. I look forward to working closely with all of the members of this team and administration. We undertake this journey together fully aware of the challenges ahead. So tonight, I conclude by reminding us of the inspiring words of President Kennedy when he was about to begin his administration one January 37 years ago:

"For of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us, recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities to the state, our success or failure, in whatever office we hold, will be measured by the answers to four questions:

First, were we truly people of courage...

Second, were we truly people ofjudgment...

Third, were we truly people of integrity...

Finally, were we truly people of dedication?"

Thank you and God Bless each of you and God Bless the City of Derby.

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