German promises open and transparent government

Republican mayoral candidate Dan German promised open and transparent government during a nominating convention July 18 at Milford City Hall as he and fellow Republicans accused the Democratic administration of backroom politics they said left taxpayers out of the loop on several projects.

“Transparency is the cornerstone of good government, and the current administration is lacking in transparency,” said German, who will challenge four-term incumbent Democratic Mayor Ben Blake in November.

A fourth district alderman, German is also running for his current Board of Alderman seat, and said if he is elected mayor he will forsake the aldermanic position.

German said he and the Republican aldermen were left in the dark on several city issues, including a conference center being built on city-owned land on North Street. There was a similar lack of transparency, German said, in creation of increased parking at Eisenhower Park, and efforts to get the Flotilla organization to turn over its downtown building to the city.

“We approved a grant for the Flotilla and we had no idea they hadn’t been paid,” German said, referring to the mayor’s withholding of a city grant to the Flotilla until they could come to an agreement about the building.

“There are a lot of little things like that,” German said, adding that they are not just small ticket items.

Blake is running for his fifth term as mayor. His campaign manager, Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith, responded to the GOP charges, saying that Blake has demonstrated his leadership abilities by leading the city to “unprecedented tax and spending control” and national recognition by several journals including Bloomberg and the New York Times, which he said cited Milford as one of the best cities in the country to live.

Smith accused German of making up issues and criticized him for running for two positions simultaneously, calling it “a little fishy” and a sign of indecisiveness.

“Mr. German cites the art and event space project as something the mayor hasn’t been transparent about,” Smith said. “Mr. German seems to have forgotten that the mayor personally met with him several times to discuss the initiative.”

During last Thursday’s convention, German talked about the issues that are important to him. In addition to government transparency, he said Milford is losing its historic charm because of 8-30g affordable housing projects being built in places that are not appropriate for them, and he plans to address that. He also said neighborhood flooding and potholes are a concern.

German said crime is up and that the city needs to do more to support its police department, and that there needs to be more support for the team of people who work for the city.

German cited his years as an alderman, plus his business experience and education as tools he will use to “make Milford amazing.”

An alderman for 10 years, German grew up in Milford, attended Northern Arizona University for finance and later earned an MBA from Sacred Heart University.

He owned and operated a business in Milford for 23 years, Creative Health & Fitness, and now owns German Financial, an insurance and financial advisory practice in Milford.

Former state Sen. Winthrop Smith nominated German at the July 18 convention, saying German “is an all around good guy.”

“Everybody likes Dan,” Winthrop Smith said, adding that German is energetic and focused and has a knowledge of the issues that affect the city.

Winthrop Smith also accused the Democratic administration of pushing through projects outside the public eye, and he said taxpayers need to have an active say in what’s going on.

City Clerk Joanne Rohrig, in seconding the nomination, also noted the need for “transparency,” and said “Dan German is the right person at the right time.”

Rohrig, city clerk since 2014, also accepted her party’s nomination at the convention to run again for city clerk.

She said that growing up in Milford in a small apartment over her family’s restaurant she learned her parent’s vision of serving the public and she continues that mission.

“I love going to work every day,” Rohrig said. “We have accomplished so much over my terms. Our office is a different office than it was five short years ago, and we continue to improve, network and enhance procedures to serve our citizens.”

Nominating speeches for Rohrig came from Registrar of Voters Debra Fellenbaum, who said Rohrig “knows how to get things done,” as well as Diane Candido, who noted Rohrig’s years on the Board of Education and her time volunteering for the United Way, Milford Oyster Festival and other community groups. Rohrig’s son, Jared Rohrig, also spoke, saying his mother is as committed to the citizens of Milford as she is to her own family.

Following is a preliminary slate of additional candidates running on the GOP ticket:

District 1

Board of Aldermen, Anthony Giannattasio and Jay Tranquilli

Board of Education: Andrew Fowler and Scott Firmender

Planning and Zoning: Tom Panzella

District 2

Board of Aldermen: Jeremy Grant and Scott Marlow, Sr.

Board of Education: Mark Macchio and Joyce Charney

Planning and Zoning: Frank Musante

District 3:

Board of Aldermen: Constance Gaynor and Michael Casey

Board of Education: Tom Jagodzinski and Erik Smith

Planning and Zoning: Peter Berube

District 4:

Board of Aldermen: Dan German and Win Smith III

Board of Education: Katie Martino and Robert Giaquinto

Planning and Zoning: Chris Goulden

District 5:

Board of Aldermen: Raymond Vitali and Bill Bevan

Board of Education: Richard LoPresti

Planning and Zoning: Richard Vizzielo

The Democrats endorse their slate of candidates starting at 6 p.m., July 22 at Milford City Hall.