NAUGATUCK — A long-time public servant closed out his final meeting as burgess Tuesday night.
Second Deputy Mayor Mike Ciacciarella has been serving Naugatuck for over a decade on two branches of borough’s government.
Ciacciarella, a Democrat, began his service in 1999 as an alternate on the Zoning Commission and, in 2009, was elected as a burgess to serve on the Board of Mayor and Burgesses.
Ciacciarella is the only incumbent burgess who chose not to seek re-election this year.
“I started my service 14 and a half years ago. I just put my name on a list to volunteer to do some service and serve the town. I got picked to be an alternate on [the Zoning Commission],” Ciacciarella said.
Ciacciarella said he decided not to seek a seat on the board again due to family obligations.
“My kids are in high school now. I need to devote myself as a father to my family and help my kids through these very important years,” Ciacciarella said.
Ciacciarella said his decision not to seek re-election was tough and one he debated until the last possible day. He hopes to return to the borough’s political scene some day in the future.
During Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting Mayor Robert Mezzo thanked Ciacciarella for his service to the borough and turned his seat over to him to let him close out the meeting.
“It’s been an honor to serve with you. We’ve had a lot of lengthy evenings here and in other subcommittees and we appreciate your time and service,” Mezzo said. “I want to wish you well and good luck.”
When he began serving on the commission Ciacciarella was not familiar with how the borough’s, or any municipality’s, government worked.
“I knew nothing about government. I just sat and listened for the first six months or so, trying to learn what this was all about,” Ciacciarella said.
In 2001 he became the chairman of the Zoning Commission.
“My first meeting as chairman I sent somebody home crying. I thought to myself what have I done. I was so devastated,” Ciacciarella said.
Ciacciarella said after the meeting ended, which was around midnight, he went home and called the person up to apologize.
“I learned that night that it’s not just about serving the town, but it’s about serving the people in the town. It’s about listening to people and it’s about educating people. Most people, just like I didn’t know, don’t know much about town government and how town government runs,” Ciacciarella said.