NAUGATUCK — After living in the borough all 50 years of his life, former Mayor Ronald San Angelo could find himself moving soon.
San Angelo, a Republican currently serving as burgess, is one of three finalists for the position of town manager in Great Barrington, Mass., and one of two finalists for town administrator in South Hadley, Mass.
“If I decide to take these positions, it’s huge for me,” San Angelo said. “I’m not moving so far away I can’t come back and visit. Frankly, I’ll always be part of Naugatuck.”
After two terms as mayor, San Angelo declined to run again in 2007 to take a state appointment as project manager for the Department of Information Technology, leading to accusations that he was abandoning the borough, which he denied.
After Gov. Dannel Malloy took office, San Angelo became a senior technology project manager for CGI, an information technology company based in Andover, Mass., that assigns him to manage projects for Cigna Insurance and other area companies.
San Angelo said he applied for a number of town manager positions when his assignment to Cigna was coming to an end and he did not know whether there would be more work for him. He was eventually assigned to another project, but said he would jump at the chance to work in local government again — without running for mayor.
“I loved being the mayor of Naugatuck in terms of being able to change things and make things better,” San Angelo said. “I love that part of government, and I want to get back to doing that, and I want to do it in a professional way and not get involved in all the political stuff.”
In the resume San Angelo submitted to South Hadley, he wrote that he saved taxpayers more than $700,000 per year as mayor, averted a 20 percent tax increase, improved employee morale and transformed the borough’s image “from a decaying factory town to a growing, vibrant community where business owners and citizens see a bright future.”
San Angelo will be interviewed March 11 by selectmen in Great Barrington. He has already been interviewed in South Hadley and expects to hear this week whether he got the job. One of his competitors for both positions is Michael Sullivan, former mayor of Holyoke, Mass.
The salaries for both positions would be negotiated, but San Angelo said he expects he would make about the same as he does now.
“I’m not going to be unhappy staying in Naugatuck,” San Angelo said. “If I’m chosen, I’m going to give everything in my heart and soul to the community that selects me.”
When the Charter Revision Commission considered amending the borough’s governing document two years ago to turn daily affairs over to a town manager, San Angelo strongly supported the idea. He praised Mayor Robert Mezzo but said some mayors are given control of the borough based on popularity and not qualifications. The town manager proposal never made it to referendum.
San Angelo said his support of the concept was not for his own benefit.
“I truly believe it is something that Naugatuck should consider,” he said.