22 Aug 2014
71° Mostly Cloudy
Patch Instagram photo by chels_a_bels

Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia: A Reflection

A look back at some of the biggest stories under Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia's Tenure

Stamford's Michael Pavia announced Thursday exclusively on Patch first that his first term as mayor for the city would be his only term.

Pavia said during a brief interview that he had no interest in playing the role of a career politician and he's made up his mind quite some time ago.

"I never intended to make this job a long-term career. While urged by Republicans and Democrats alike to seek another term, I am announcing that I will be stepping away from this position," Pavia said.

Under his direction, the city of Stamford has faced its fair share of trials and obstacles, particularly of the meteorological persuasion. Under Pavia, Stamford was challenged by a freak October snowstorm, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

Pavia joked during Superstorm Sandy's impact on Stamford that if the current trend in escalation held steady, the next storm the city face could be unprecedentedly biblical in proportion.

"First we had a wind storm with strong microbursts that took down 2,000 trees and made us lose power for a week," Pavia said. "Then we had Irene, unprecedented in its size, again we were without power for a week. Then we had the Halloween Snowstorm and again it was unprecedented, though we handled that much better. I think next, it will be locust."

Pavia said the decision was an easy one to make, saying days ago during an interview at his office that sometimes, one should step away while they are on top, giving them the ability to look back with joy at all they had accomplished.

"Throughout my career, I have had the honor of serving the City of Stamford in multiple capacities," Pavia said in a release. "The time has come for me to return to my life as businessman and private citizen."

But while Pavia was serving Stamford, he developed the Critical Incident Planning & Response Group while here in response to scenarios like the weather-related phenomena with which the city was faced.

Pavia was also mayor during one of recent memory's most tragic losses of life within city border, the death of five members of a family, including three little girls, during the 2011 Christmas Day fire.

Matthew and Madonna Badger lost their three daughters, Sarah, Lilly and Grace, in the fire. Madonna also lost her parents. After the State's Attorney's Office announced there would be no criminal charges in the case, Matthew and Madonna each individually filed lawsuits, both naming the city as a defendant.

The tragic event was instrumental in furthering a change in how the city handles fire response. Pavia played a key role in getting the idea of a unified fire department presented to the public on the most recent November ballot. The Charter Revision Commission took a look at the city's current charter and constructed language to unify both the volunteer and paid branches of a single chief. It was a controversial plan, but eventually the city would pass the changes almost two-to-one, and Stamford would name Antonio Conte as its single leader.

Pavia also oversaw much of the direction for Stamford's Urban Transitway, a "mile-long facility to provide direct connection to the Stamford Transportation Center south of the railroad tracks." It was a project without hiccups, but as the project progresses, other areas of development in the city are touting it as a bonus.

Pavia also brought on board to the city one of it's more famous sports stars and entreprenuers, Bobby Valentine, who was hired as the city's Public Safety Director for a time.

"At one point I was kind of frazzled because going through my mayoral duty and compensating for the public safety duties, I had found myself somewhat frustrated and I said to Bobby one day in a casual conversation, 'Bob, I'd love to have you serve as my public safety director.' And he said, 'Just ask.' And afterwards, when he agreed to do it, I asked this question: 'Why did you say yes?' And his answer is a very simple answer but it cuts to the core of what my administration looks forward to, what my administration wants to promote in Stamford, and that is, getting the best that we have right here in our city, the best resources available to us and making them contribute to the city. When I asked Bobby, 'Why are you doing this?' — his answer was, 'Because you asked me, because you need me,' which I thought was the best answer anyone can give."

Pavia was present for a number of businesses entering or growing in the city, both big and small, and his staff was undeniably important in achieving that growth and the relationship with each of the owners.

Finally, Pavia never forgot to give credit and respect where it was due. He just wanted everyone to act a little more civil to each other, and was never worried about sharing the stage.

"I think the record speaks for itself. I've accomplished a great deal," Pavia said. "In the next 10 months, I expect we will continue to accomplish a number of other items. I will continue to work as hard as I have and can only hope I will leave this city in a better place for it."

Photo Gallery

Share This Article