NORWALK, Conn. – The impression Norwalk Democratic mayoral hopeful Vinny Mangiacopra left on Monroe is reflected in a performance review by threes and fours and in the accolade of a commissioner who has been quoted as disparaging the former town employee’s performance.
Mangiacopra touts his four years as Monroe economic and community development coordinator, from 2006 to 2010, as part of the government experience that makes him qualified to be mayor. In response to reader comments (online and in person), NancyOnNorwalk obtained his 2008 performance evaluation and checked in with a former economic development commissioner to find out just what kind of a mark he left on Monroe.
On a scale of one to five, Mangiacopra achieved mainly threes in the evaluation filled out by the late former First Selectman Tom Buzi, a Democrat. He had nine fours out of 46 categories.
A three is defined as “full performance.” A four is “exemplary performance.” Mangiacopra’s high marks were given for:
• Promoting utilization of available technology
• Sharing wins and successes with those involved
• Cooperating with co-workers
• Being flexible to the town’s changing needs
• Maintaining effective two way communications with all levels of government
• Handling the public’s complaints in a timely and effective manner
• Demonstrating efficiency, competence and courtesy when dealing with the public
• Cooperating and working well with others
• Handling differences of opinions tactfully to gain a resolution
Buzi wrote, “Vinny has a chance to shine, even in a recession.”
Mangiacopra lists as an objective: “Continue to grow business — particularly Jewis (sic) Home for the Elderly.” A Jewish Home for the Elderly was thought to be coming to Monroe in August 2010, according to Monroe Patch, but, a year later, septic system issues resulted in it being planned for Bridgeport instead, Patch reported.
The 2008 evaluation is the only one on file, Monroe Human Resources Manager Catherine Lombardi said in an email. It is attached below.
Mangiacopra’s job was eliminated in 2010. In March 2011, former Economic Development Commissioner Steve Schapiro urged Monroe to hire a new person for the position. He is quoted in a Patch story as saying, “We didn’t have the right person for the job.”
Shapiro, a Republican, said last week that he was unaware of the Patch article, and was surprised by the quote. He said the remark had been taken out of context. Mangiacopra wasn’t the right person because he was young and the job was unstable, he said.
“They could never make up their mind if it was a full time job or a part time job,” he said. “He really wanted a full-time job with a future in government. So he happened to be the wrong person.”
Mangiacopra went from being full time to part time to full time to part time, he said.
“He was told two days. Next six months, five days a week,” he said. “He was young, he had just gotten married and he was trying to make a life.”
Shapiro, a 65-year-old retiree, said he thought a retiree or an older person with experience in real estate might be good for the job, given its unreliability. He said he had been an economic development commissioner for the entire time Mangiacopra worked for Monroe and praised his performance.
“He did a good job for us,” he said. “We knocked on the doors at 300 businesses to reacquaint them with economic development and give them better substance on how the town viewed economic development. We visited every business in town. We talked to the owners.”
Mangiacopra, now 31, got caught by the politics of Monroe when Buzi lost the 2009 election to Republican Steve Vavrek, he said.
“He got very good support when there was a Democratic first selectman, but really didn’t get the support as an employee when there was a Republican first selectman,” he said. “Maybe the first selectman let his being a ‘D’ overshadow the good he was doing for the town.”