A Selectman’s Farewell

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Vince Lombardi once said, “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” At my recent farewell funeral/luncheon, I noted to Town employees that had I not lost, I might never have left, because for me, there would always be just one more thing to do. With my surrender, I thank first and foremost my cavalry of municipal employees. I know I pushed hard and expected much, but I hope you agree that I did so always by your side. I am so proud of what our team accomplished together for the betterment of Suffield. I truly loved this incredibly stressful job (excluding the pandemic). I’m grateful and honored for the opportunity to serve the people and Town of Suffield. Best wishes to Colin Moll – may your skin be thick, your days long and your patience endless!

A few last fruits of my labor…

New Trash & Recycling Contract

My time as first selectman presented numerous opportunities to forge new and important relationships on behalf of the Town. Frank M. Antonacci, chief operating officer of USA Hauling & Recycling, and I bonded quickly over a shared passion for trash and recycling! For me, this interest stemmed most likely from an inherent desire to clean things up and leave them tidier than when I originally found them. For Frank, it was the business of trash. As a proactive response to extraordinary increases due to a failing Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA), the organization that disposes of and recycles Suffield’s trash, and a looming disposal crisis, I contacted Frank early in 2021 with a proposal to reopen Suffield’s contract prior to its expiration. With the Board of Selectmen’s blessing in August, we renegotiated, and I am happy to report at a proposed savings to Suffield of approximately $882,000 over the 7-year contract. More importantly, we reserved capacity for responsible disposal of Suffield’s waste long before other municipalities will be scurrying to do so in coming years. The new contract also ensures that the recyclables collected in town will be processed at the most state-of-the-art recycling facility in the nation, a facility called “The All American Material Recovery Facility” located right here in the state of Connecticut. This gives Suffield the confidence that the diligent recycling efforts of the residents of Suffield are resulting in the highest possible recycling rates coming from our community.

Highlights of the new contract include:

The agreement extension limits market risk by nearly 100% during a time of great volatility; it is achieved by securing disposal space now at fixed prices with manageable and budgetable increases.

Suffield’s cost to actual exposure is limited to a very small fraction of total costs, now associated with the actual value of commodities received in single stream, creating a long-term solution where Suffield secures reliable responsible collection and disposal services at highly predictable and normalized cost and great savings compared to greater market.

Budgeting associated with these services goes from 100% uncertainty (with MIRA benchmarking) to 96% certainty with new agreement.

To read more scintillating trash details, check out the August 4, 2021 Board of Selectmen Minutes.

Kent Memorial Library Renovation Resolution
KML’s environmental catastrophe, uncovered during the building’s renovation, resulted in residents’ loss of a library for an extended time, and deferred important other capital projects in a cascading domino effect. Since that time, the Town has diligently pursued the facts surrounding those events. As I have been credited and criticized for holding people accountable, I finish my tenure true to form. Look for resolution in the coming months as I held those who were negligent in the library debacle accountable.

Police Arbitration Award
Along with the Town’s Human Resources Director, Labor Counsel, and Department Heads, we remained consistent till the end in how we negotiated all union contracts, fair to employees and sustainable for taxpayers over the long term. The Police Union Contract arbitration decision should be issued soon.

We’ve paved the way to a more walkable, safe and pedestrian friendly community with the promise of sidewalks connecting to the town center. Mountain Road to break ground in spring 2022 and Mapleton Avenue to follow.

A few more things to do…Colin, please make sure they are on your list now!

Facilities Master Plan
This first-ever master plan is essential to make thoughtful decisions on how we invest in Suffield’s future and are good fiduciaries of Suffield’s assets over the next ten to twenty years.

Traffic & Pedestrian Safety
Another passion of mine is addressing the town-wide speeding and pedestrian safety issue. Police enforcement and capital investment will be keys to success.

Babb’s Rink
Please encourage better stewardship of Town assets and renovate this historic rink. Plans exist; funding is just needed! It would be tragic to lose a true town treasure.

Bridge Street Park
We should help develop our Town center and make something new and beautiful in the present for a new generation of Suffield’s residents.

As I’ve been packing up my office, I’ve been humming Anna Kendrick’s, You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone. But the truth is, I’m the one who is going to miss my coworkers, my partners on the Board of Selectmen, and community members and supporters who shared my excitement for the sometimes difficult, but great work we were doing. I’m gonna miss you when I’m gone! But I will relish the extra time to spend with family and friends over the upcoming holiday season. I wish you and yours the happiest and healthiest of holidays and a blessed 2022. Until we meet again Suffield.

Best regards,
Melissa M. Mack,
First Selectman (2015-2021)

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