Opinion: What would I do if I was mayor of Stamford?

Stamford is the third largest city in Connecticut, but we have a small town mentality when it comes to many issues. I would endeavor to change that mindset in our city workforce and our citizens as well. I would strive to instill a sense of pride and ownership in the performance of our jobs, facilities, equipment and empower the city employees to take initiative in the performance of their daily jobs. If they have ideas as to how to improve productivity and delivery of service to our residents, I would definitely listen!

As the municipal election season begins, and candidates announce their intentions, I would like to put forth a list of issues I feel need to be addressed by all candidates and ideas that will hopefully lead Stamford into the future.

If I were mayor, my first initiative would be:

 Undertake a full city wide forensic audit in conjunction with an operational review of all city departments. This would be done to ensure that going forward; we are structured to deliver efficient municipal services to the citizens of Stamford.

We must review all job descriptions and update them to require technical and technological proficiencies of today and the future for all city employees. By doing so, we will develop greater efficiency in providing services to our fellow citizens.

We must review department organizational structure across all city departments, to see what skills, education and training are needed to perform essential tasks; we must look at everything and endeavor to improve service to our residents, and most importantly, do it in a cost-effective manner.

Items for discussion

1. Take lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, develop and publish a written emergency response plan, and continually review and upgrade plan as necessary. Re-Establish the LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee, if not currently active).

2. Establish an MHRT — Mental Health Response Team (24/7/365).

3. School Facilities Management — Improve oversight, and seek federal funding for facilities improvements.

4. Improve Public Safety & Health — Increase police, fire and health staffing.

5. Increased SPD/SFD staffing will allow for fully staffed marine units crew 24/7/365.

6. Create a police explorer program and a reserve police program to aid and supplement SPD in various areas.

7. Increased staffing of park police (supplement SPD Marine Unit staffing?)

8. CERT training program in city high schools (voluntary, elective)

9. Increased grant research and writing — especially homeland security, mental health, education and infrastructure grants

10. Develop written snow response plan for city.

11. Equip city plows/spreaders and sanitation vehicles with GPS and have a tracking map program available on city website.

12. Equip plow/salt spreading equipment with road surface temperature sensing and application metering equipment. This will save money by reducing the amount of over-application of material.

13. Consider purchasing snow melting equipment/pit at treatment plant so snow melt runoff that is hauled off during severe conditions can be properly handled and treated.

14. New garage for storage of municipal sanitation vehicles (increased equipment lifespan)

15. Increased staffing for recycling and sanitation.

16. Increased staffing/vehicle maintenance (resulting in greater efficiencies, cost savings)

17. Install automated drive through vehicle and undercarriage wash system for city vehicles, to lengthen equipment life span. Could be used for all large equipment (including fire apparatus undercarriages).

18. Treat all city vehicles with a corrosion preventative before and during winter season, (increased equipment life span).

19. Better fleet maintenance procedures including rust repair and repainting of damaged truck bodies (will lengthen equipment life span and result in cost savings from prematurely having to purchase new equipment to replace poorly maintained vehicles/equipment).

20. Equip all new sanitation trucks with plows. (With pre-treatment of roads and other newer operational procedures sanitation trucks could be used during snowstorms even though they cannot spread de-icing material. New York City and Chicago as well as other large cities in snow belt continue to use sanitation packer trucks to this day.

21. New fireboat, with Marine 236 becoming reserve or secondary vessel when primary vessel is out of service for maintenance. (Improved public safety.)

22. Upgrade existing police marine unit to vessel similar in capabilities to current Greenwich Marine PB139 (improved public safety)

23. Relocation of SPD/SFD marine units to a location outside of no wake zone which will allow quicker response and improved response..

24. Install anti-icing system at docks to prevent marine units from being frozen in during winter weather.

25. Look into possibility of using renewable diesel fuel (DME) and start/stop technology on future vehicle purchases. (greenhouse gas reduction and cost savings)

Jeff Curtis (D-14) is a member of the Stamford Board of Representatives (D-14).