Norwalk Dem Mangiacopra did ‘good job’ in Monroe

Norwalk Dem mayoral meet 050513 107
Norwalk Democrat Vinny Mangiacopra commuted to Monroe for four years while working as that town’s economic and community development coordinator.

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.”

Vinny Mangiacopra performance eval 2008


21 responses to “Norwalk Dem Mangiacopra did ‘good job’ in Monroe”

  1. NorwalkLifer

    Introducing… our next mayor and the future of the Democratic Party… Vinny Mangiacopra

  2. LWitherspoon

    Thank you for clarifying the context of Mr. Shapiro’s comment.
    In the interests of transparency, will Mr. Mangiacopra now release the text of the loyalty pledge he signed for the DTC? Mr. Mangiacopra was the only candidate willing to sign the pledge. The other three Democrats all refused. It’s hard to believe the pledge is benign when candidates such as Matt Miklave, who has consistently done the DTC’s bidding on Council, refused to sign it. Voters deserve to know what’s in this written pledge before they decide which candidate to support.

  3. D(ysfunctional)TC

    So has Vinny ever had a full time job? He was considered too young for a part time job in a tiny town, yet he considers himself mature enough to run the state’s 6th largest city. Give us a break already. Please.

  4. Harold

    I’m glad the comments that Vinny wasn’t the right guy for the job has been cleared up. I think it may have been Tim who posted the patch article a while back. It seems to me that every time there is an argument against Vinny it gets cleared up and resolved. Other than many peoples argument that he is too young, which I believe is a non-factor due to his vision and qualifications.

  5. Harold

    Way to put a nice spin on the story

  6. D(ysfunctional)TC

    Harold. Sorry this guy’s resume is thinner than angel hair pasta. Desire alone isn’t enough to give some one a job. If it were we’d have no minor leagues and everyone would be on the Yankees. Tell your boy to stop embarrassing himself and get some experience first before assuming he is entitled to be our mayor. This whole campaign is born in fantasy land.

  7. Suzanne

    A bunch of threes does not an excellent candidate make: however, more importantly, I just revisited Mr. Mangiacopra’s WEB Site and found little fleshed out in the way of specifics and a lot of hyperbole about how he is going to make Norwalk better.

    How? Where is your platform? What specific issues, including taxes, are you taking on and how? What are your goals with regard to how City Hall is currently run including the lack of transparency and cooperation for the average citizen? Technology is great but there are a lot of very complicated people working hard to protect their piece of the pie and keep business as usual in government: how are you going to deal with that?

    What do you see as the budget issues most important to address in City Government? Do you have priorities regarding this?

    “Norwalks Future Now” means absolutely, categorically NOTHING. I don’t care how old you are, I don care how “fresh” you are, I want to know the nuts and bolts of what it is you will DO as Mayor, particularly in regard to Urban Planning, housing values, Development, the Environment, etc.

    Nowhere on your WEB site do you represent any of these things – it is all vacuous politico-speak and I am sorry for that. Because if you have something to offer, Mr. Mangiacopra, I would like to know EXACTLY what that is. Anyone can create an enthusiastic poster, it’s what is behind it, the minutiae of governing that counts.

  8. Hanging Chad

    Why is age even an issue ?? It’s clear to see that Vinny is the “fresh air” that’s needed to clean out the dirty laundry of norwalk poltics. i believe he has a plan and with speak on it. His contributions to his campaign came mostly from outside of norwalk. To me it means he can bring in buisness which is needed in norwalk.

  9. Harold

    I don’t think anyone is ENTITLED to be our mayor. The entitlement come with time of being the hardest working person in the city, and that’s what the mayor should be. Is Moccia entitled? Has he been the hardest working person her? Rilling sure wasn’t when he had his time as the number one cop! Garfunkel, Miklave?? C’mon please. Vinny is the ONLY choice we have that has the drive and desire to be the hardest working person in the entire city!

  10. Suzanne

    How does “fresh air” clean out “dirty laundry”? Where is the plan and when will he speak on it? Outside contributions has no co relation whatsoever to bringing in outside business unless he is illegally accepting contributions in exchange for favored guarantees for business in Norwalk (which I know could not be true.) “Drive and desire” are qualities shared by all of the candidates and not exclusive to “Vinny” nor is he exclusive to his choice to be the “hardest working person in the entire city!” Again, hyperbole, words, no substance. This is the key reason I could not vote for him unless he develops another solid strategy other than he and his minions venting political rhetoric.

  11. piberman

    Having lived here for 3 decades I can’t recall any elected Mayor who had a background supposed “appropriate” to the job. Nor any who after being mayor was employable in the private sector at anywhere similar responsibilities. In fact its only been recently that mayoral candidates had college degrees. We’ve had musicians on the ballot, Town Clerks, City clerks and so on. Getting elected makes one qualified as mayor. Nough said.

    Do campaign platforms matter ? Well I can only recall one short platform, that used by Mayor Esposito – lets keep low taxes. Simple, effective and it worked.

    Who among the 4 candidates would be the best choice ? By background none are front runners. At one raises eye brows – appointing the hostile School Administators Union head as Treasurer in order to secure the union vote. In my book we already have the school unions having undue influence on our NPSS.

    Why bash Vinny. He has enthusiasm, lots of ideas, energy and he attracts followers. No successful politican can ever do the job with having the persona that attracts followers. Vinny also responds to e-mails and thoughtfully so. My sense is that he enjoys the political life and is getting an early start.

    Would he be a good mayor ? Haven’t any real good idea. Would he have the support of the Common Council ? Again, no idea. Would any of the 4 candidates be effective mayors without the Common Council ? Not likely.

    Who was hands down our most effective mayor in recent decades ? Frank Esposito is the obvious choice. He had a Council on his side. In our weak mayor strong Council government by charter everyone forgets the Council rules the roost and the mayor cuts the ribbons.

    What would happen if a really able candidate with a strong management background became mayor without the support of a Council ? Be ground into dust by the school union chiefs and everyone else.

    So at day’s end 3 cheers for Vinny. He has an uphill fight, some of his ideas aren’t well informed, he’s young but he does bring some real old fashioned enthusiasm to a City that lacks any semblance of political vitality. In time he could be another Frank Esposito who knew just about everyone in town. And their children. And was successful in keeping taxes low because he was a master politican and pretty smart and level headed. I campaigned against him and found him the most able politican I’ve yet seen this august City.

    Whose my favorite ? Don’t know yet. Need more info especially about Council candidates. But I do spend my energies thinking about a much more important topic (to me) – attracting first rate people to the BOE slots so we have a better chance of regaining control over our PSS from the unions. A truly capable and independent BOE freed from union control matters far more in the affairs of the City than who sits in City Hall. Next in line is the Council and the mayor last.

    But it would be exciting to be mayor and now it pays a really good salary ! It will be a real warm day in the winter before anyone in Norwalk emerges with the political capabilities of a John Malloy running for mayor of Stamford. And he was capable enough of securing the Governor’s mantle as well.

    Norwalk has long been a rookie team in CT politics and likely to remain so. So be kind gentle people to any of our citizens who want to be mayor. No one is born to be a varsity player. That the City spends more funds on electing a mayor than all the other positions combined is a fine illustration of our political immaturity. But us old timers remember that it wasn’t always that way.

  12. Suzanne

    It’s disappointing to think that asking questions of a candidate as far as their ideas and plans in their chosen office is somehow “bashing” them. That criticizing enthusiastic hyperbole for the alternative, ideas about what this candidate would do if they were elected mayor, is somehow considered a rough ride over the candidate. If that is what it is, then I can’t wait to see who has the backbone to deal with the City Government, including the Council and school board. Why is everyone allergic to strategy and ideas? Isn’t it clear what problems exist in Norwalk? Why can’t a constituent say, a taxpayer, someone who helps pay the bills, “Mr. Enthusiasm, if you are elected Mayor, what are you going to do about this?”, and not be called a basher? It’s childish and it’s silly especially when one considers the amount of the entire budget running this town. Mr. Esposito, BTW, was very good at glad handing but artificially kept property taxes so low, they had to be raised significantly upon his retirement. I didn’t appreciate that then, although it seemed politically expedient for him, and, as a homeowner, I don’t appreciate it now.

  13. rburnett

    @Mark Chapman: I believe it was at least a week before the questionnaire was submitted. Moreover, did you read the “added information” to see if it was perhaps taken from the others that were publicized for all to see? Also, why would he have an opportunity to add information to his original submission? Why would he need to? Flip-flop?

    @piberman: You flip-flop worse than any Mayoral candidate. First, you praised Miklave, then Rilling, now Mangiacopra. Whose next, Merrill? I guess anybody but Moccia is your pick. It should be the kiss of death to any candidate receiving your endorsement.

    1. Mark Chapman

      I assure you we read the added info. And, having not only read the other candidates’ answers but having interviewed each in person and having read their websites, I can assure you it was about as original as it can be when you are discussing approaches to the same problems in the same city. After 35 years as a journalist, from small weeklies to major dailies, I think I have an inkling about these things. What is most relevant is that he and the others who responded put their names to their statements and can now be held accountable. And, where they were vague, they can be questioned, which we plan to do between now and the primary, and again between the primary and November. There’s a long way to go, and there will be much more information to work with before anyone should decide who will be best for Norwalk. And that decision can be made as much by what the candidates don’t say as by what they say and how they comport themselves.

  14. Karen

    KareBare: I think a lot of you “Norwalkers” need to do your Homework on Vinny, he has experience and he Has Shared his thoughts and ideas on what his intentions are, I think it’s time for new And Yes “Young” Blood into this City,from what I’ve researched Vinny Has Political Experience Lets think “Outside the box” and give someone else a chance who has Goals ,knowledge & yes Expetience

  15. Tim T

    Please tell us what that experience Vinny has..
    Not ideas
    Not thoughts
    Not intentions
    Not saying like Lets think “Outside the box”
    Not Goals
    Actual EXPERIENCE that qualifies him to me mayor.

    We have already seen what someone without qualification can do to Norwalk as in Moccia
    All the Vinny operatives talk about Vinny’s experience and use nice little buzz words however they have yet to post any real experience that Vinny has.

  16. Tim T

    LWitherspoon States

    “Matt Miklave, who has consistently done the DTC’s bidding on Council, refused to sign it”.
    If that is true that in itself qualifies Matt to be mayor as he is not one of Moccia’s puppets who are responsible for the destruction of Norwalk.

  17. Harold

    Tim what experience do the other dems have?

  18. Tim T

    Here is the experience the other dems have.
    Andy was a very successful town clerk who modernized the town clerks office. He as town clerk was next in line to be mayor after the council president should something happen to the mayor that he could not serve
    Matt has the education. Is an attorney. Is a partner in the law firm. Is a long time council member.
    I have yet to see any answers in regard to Vinny’s experience from you, Karen or any of Vinny’s other operatives . I have asked this question several times and for some strange reason it’s ignored. Could it be that Vinny has no experience? I would say so. Here is your chance once again What is Vinnys’ experience?????
    Oh and by the way I don’t feel Harry has any positive experience to be mayor any more than Moccia does
    Moccia is Rilling
    Rilling is Moccia

  19. tank

    wait till the debate comes on the 7th that’s all cut n clear. Vinny is the one for the job, norwalkers are tired of the same people ripping the city off. The chief is a joke, retire already didn’t they throw a retirement party for him last yr 65yrs old COME ON MAN it’s time to go!!

  20. KareBear

    Tim T and Dysfunctional ( perfect name) why don’t you two give it a break and research before you speak or should I say Voice your Opinion Vinny had had many Full Time jobs one being the Economic Development Coordinator before his last year when the town had to make cuts and lets talk about Full Time in Probate Court : think before you type !

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