Advertisements

Ellen: Being Mayor is a job, not a performance

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu Photo (c) Lindsey Whitneck Rivers, Lindsey Rivers Photography

To most people, the term Economic development means bringing in new businesses. However, its actually something that has many moving pieces.

This fifth Issues Platform offers my thoughts on meaningful – and achievable – policy initiatives that will a.) grow our tax base, b.) make Bristol more business friendly, and c.) help connect people with jobs.

Thanks to my work experience with trade associations and business advocacy groups, I know that it is critical to create public-private partnerships that promote business growth and coordinate that with marketing, so businesses will find Bristol to be an attractive place to locate or expand.

In Bristol, there is no logic to our current economic development efforts.  One of my first actions will be to merge the Mayor’s isolated economic development committee into the Bristol Development Authority so that there is a streamlined process that makes better use of the members of the BDA, and increased transparency. While, as the Mayor, I will continue to propose economic development grants, the BDA will have to ratify all such spending in order to promote transparency and accountability, while avoiding the perception of favoritism or backroom deals.

The BDA will be given addition responsibilities to network with existing Bristol businesses to assist them when needed and to listen to their suggestions. The businesses usually know better than the politicians what works and what doesn’t.   The current Mayor seems to be narrowly focused only on bringing in new businesses; while at the same time several businesses have left Bristol and other storefronts have been vacant for extended periods of time. The successful economic development strategy is to both recruit and retain businesses at the same time. I will consult regularly with and seek advice from the Chamber of Commerce and local business officials to gain their recommendations.

The Planning Commission and the Zoning Commission and the other land use boards are a vital part of Bristol economic development. The city’s Plan of Conservation and Development is
nothing but a worthless exercise if the land use boards don’t actively push the objectives it establishes.

Businesses desire “one stop shopping” when reviewing proposals and incentives. The Mayor’s office needs to be the captain of these efforts to ensure all city employees are rowing in the same
direction and understand the message that “Bristol is open for business.” One change I will suggest is that the land use boards meet twice a month regularly, or routinely schedule special
meeting to help move projects along. Time is money for developers, and the city should be a pro-active piece of that project development.

Everyone loves the “one stop shopping” idea but in reality no two projects are the same. It will be critical that there is someone at the top of the pyramid with enough knowledge of development and the local regulations to know what steps need to be taken, in what order those steps are most efficient. In addition, current city staff need to develop the skill sets to perform this task. Continuous job training is a key element for customer service and ensuring projects are expedited and reviewed appropriately.

Good paying jobs are another indicator of a healthy community. The City should give preference to hiring local residents, whether for entry level positions or Department Head positions. This
stabilizes the middle class, encourages home ownership, and local spending.

The City should have a minority and women-owned business preference policy, and create a mentoring and training program to help grow the many thriving small businesses owned by
women and minorities in the community. In terms of recruiting them to Bristol, we need to get bold and aggressively market our business centers to targeted manufacturers who are big, high tech, and looking to grow.

The number one reason manufacturing companies are going to pack up and leave Connecticut is because they can’t find the right talent for these highly technical, highly skilled jobs. The number two reason is that 75% of applicants can’t pass a pre-employment drug test. This is a big problem in safety sensitive jobs and is yet another indicator of how the opioid crisis is affecting Bristol.

There needs to be more educational synergy. Adult education works very closely with local manufacturers to train potential employees and create jobs. There has to be other avenues in the
trades through the tech school that could be as effective in building the workforce.

This may include
An emphasis on Computer Aided Design (CAD) classes and computer coding classes
More emphasis on trades and manufacturing jobs in addition to the college bound track.
Robotics and STEM programs for interested students at the middle school level
Lastly, we need to start attaching bodies to dollars in our economic development grants.

If the city gives a company grant money for anything, from a facade improvement to a capital purchase to an expansion, that company should be compelled to hire a certain number of employees from the local community. Y number of Bristol people. The city should help the businesses which receive grant awards to promote job openings at such company in every single outlet we have at our disposal. If we do this in addition to making some changes in our school curriculum, that is how we will get Bristol people into these high-paying, high-quality industry jobs, which will in
turn stabilize our middle class.

I promise the citizens of Bristol that I will always be involved with the Bristol business community.  I won’t be caught off guard like the situation that just happened. Being Mayor is a
job that involves hard work and attention to detail.  It doesn’t just mean ribbon cuttings and ceremonial events.

It is a job, not a performance.

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu

Advertisements

ABOUT BRISTOL ROUNDUP

The Roundup is a popular magazine covering local news, events and information about the greater Bristol Connecticut area. The Roundup, started by Bristol native Mike Uchalid currently has over 6,500 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 50,000 readers across multiple sites, apps, pages and groups. The Roundup provides accurate information, events, news and so much more. We hope you enjoy it!

MORE NEWS FROM ROUNDUP PARTNER: FOX 61

A knockoff Dunkin’ Donuts exists – and it’s pure comedy

A knockoff Dunkin’ Donuts exists – and it’s pure comedy

Take a look at the photos and analyze them thoroughly. Then, take a look at Dunkin’ Donuts, do you see any similarities? According to Business Insider, “Duffin Dagels” has no ssociation to the actual Dunkin’ Donuts brand. Business Insider said Dunkin’ Donuts does have some stores in Spain, but the name for the brand’s Spanish outposts was changed to Dunkin’ Coffee in 2007 because it was more in tuned with their business plan, according to Dunkin’ Brands. Checkout some of Duffin Dagels posts below: ¿Quién […]

Warm weather calls for golfing in the winter

Warm weather calls for golfing in the winter

ELLINGTON — The calendar might say February but the mood screams June, especially in Ellington. Rolling Meadows Country Club makes it a point to stay in the game, whenever possible, and with record warmth visiting Connecticut for a day, the golf got going. “If we can be open we’ll be open,” said Steve Carle, the head golf pro at Rolling Meadows. With temperatures over 70, the course was full of hackers from tee to green enjoying a rare winter Wednesday […]

Trump’s note card for Parkland shooting discussion: ‘I hear you’

Trump’s note card for Parkland shooting discussion: ‘I hear you’

WASHINGTON  — President Donald Trump heard emotional stories Wednesday from people affected by the nation’s deadliest school shootings, and it appears he had an assist in responding to some of the powerful testimony. In a photo from the event taken by Getty Images photographer Chip Somodevilla, the President is holding a piece of White House stationery with five discussion points written in black marker. The visible points include prompts such as “1. What would you most want me to know […]

‘Connecticut Made’ logo to appear on hometown merchandise

‘Connecticut Made’ logo to appear on hometown merchandise

HARTFORD — Connecticut-made products from craft beer to circuit boards will soon sport a logo touting their origin. State lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled the new ‘Connecticut Made’ mark and encouraged businesses and industry leaders to use the red, white and blue logo as a promotional tool. Stamford Rep. Caroline Simmons, the Democratic House chairman of the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee, said the concept is a simple and effective way to showcase products made in Connecticut and help support local jobs. […]

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s