Mezzo not seeking 4th term

Robert Mezzo
Robert Mezzo

NAUGATUCK — A fourth term in office isn’t in the cards for Mayor Robert Mezzo.

Mezzo, a 43-year-old Democrat, announced on his blog that he won’t seek re-election in November.

“I have sincerely enjoyed my time in office, but being a mayor or first selectman is a full-time, 24-7 responsibility that requires a complete commitment of heart, soul and passion in all aspects of the job,” Mezzo said. “This is a commitment that I do not feel I can bring to a fourth term at this time in my life.”

Mezzo, who is an attorney by trade, earned his first term as mayor in 2009 after defeating incumbent Republican Mayor Mike Bronko. He was unopposed in 2011 and defeated Republican challenger James O’Sullivan in 2013 to earn his third consecutive term in office. He also served as a burgess from 1999 to 2003.

The decision to not run again was one Mezzo said was made with a significant amount of thought. It wasn’t entirely unexpected either, as Mezzo said prior to running in 2013 that a third term could be his last.

Mezzo decided he wants to begin the next chapter of his life.

“While I am not certain what the future holds, I am excited to begin the next chapter of my professional life. I am confident that my skills and experience will offer interesting and challenging opportunities,” Mezzo said.

Mezzo said he announced his decision now to give enough time for others to make decisions about their own future.

During his tenure, Mezzo led the way for the $81 million renovate-to-new project at Naugatuck High School, which is expected to be finished in the fall. He has also overseen a new direction for the redevelopment of downtown after the contract for the Renaissance Place project expired in 2012.

Mezzo’s accomplishments also include negotiating with every municipal public employee union a change to defined contribution plans for new hires, which is expected to save millions of dollars in the long-term.

“During his administration, there have been a lot of accomplishments. A lot of good things for Naugatuck,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Leonard Caine said.

In addition to brick and mortar changes, Caine said, Mezzo has also helped with the revitalization of the borough.

“There’s been an effort in the economic development arena to pursue more companies to come to Naugatuck and invest here, which adds to grand list. He’s spearheaded that,” Caine said.

Caine said it was too early to say who will run for mayor on the Democratic ticket in November.

Mezzo’s announcement means the borough’s top two political seats will not have an incumbent running in the fall. Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, a Republican, announced last week she won’t be seeking re-election.

Mezzo said there is still much work to be done over the rest of his term and he will remain focused on the tasks at hand.

“I will remain focused on implementing the economic development opportunities that are beginning to take shape in our downtown, planning for the future of our school district and continuing to reform our local government,” Mezzo said.

Mezzo, who volunteers with youth sports in the borough, said he will remain involved with community activities and lend a helping hand to future borough leaders when possible.

“It is my sincere hope that the leaders who follow will continue to work together and make decisions that will balance the demands of today with the needs of tomorrow. I stand willing to assist those with good intentions as my schedule permits, and will remain involved in community activities. … Whether one walks in the front or the back of our historic Memorial Day parade is far less important than making a decision to march. Next year I will welcome a return to the back of the parade,” Mezzo said.