Job offers

He had other job offers. The one in North Haven is the one Mike Freda wants to keep.

NORTH HAVEN – It’s been 12 years since he took the job of first selectman, and Michael Freda is not finished yet.

Freda took office in 2009 after stepping down as president and CEO of a sales and marketing agency in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Selectmen and on the Finance Board.

Republican Mike Freda, left, announces his candidacy for North Haven First Selectman at a press conference / rally on North Haven Town Green in 2009. Then-Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, second from left, followed by Senator Len Fasano, far right, introduced Freda.

/ Photo from Hearst Connecticut media file

Despite high-level positions in the past, Freda says running the city is the most difficult job he has ever had.

But it also gives him frequent opportunities to help citizens – and that’s what motivates him.

“There are many times when you can make a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Freda.

“There have been many times over the years that I have met people who are desperate, and through… conversations I have been able to turn despair into hope that maybe there might be a solution. “, did he declare.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda speaks during a live broadcast event at the Athena II Diner in North Haven in 2011.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda speaks during a live broadcast event at the Athena II Diner in North Haven in 2011.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Photo Media File

In these cases, Freda is working behind the scenes to find a way forward, he said, recalling one January day about six years ago, when an elderly couple ran out of oil as the Evening temperatures were expected to drop below freezing.

The husband, who was around 70 or in the early 80s, suffered from neuropathy, according to Freda, who noted that the cold can worsen the condition.

The city executive recalled receiving a call asking if he could help.

“Within four hours, I would say, I had an oil truck filling the tank and the boiler reset so they had heat that night,” he said. “They were so grateful, husband and wife.”

It is the “personal side of government” that Freda finds so rewarding.

The city’s longtime Republican leader is running for his seventh term. He will face Democratic challenger Carl Kordek on November 2.

“I actually had other job offers, but turned them down because I’m so focused on serving citizens,” he said. “When you can help someone solve a problem, and it’s often a personal problem, there’s a lot of satisfaction in that. “

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda, the center, and state and local officials including Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Senator Len Fasano, and Martin Looney visited the Amazon distribution center in North Haven for the first time in 2019

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda, the center, and state and local officials including Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Senator Len Fasano, and Martin Looney visited the Amazon distribution center in North Haven for the first time in 2019

Clare Dignan / Hearst Connecticut / Media File Photo

How does Freda do the job?

He knows a lot of people, he says. With a vast network of contacts, he can pick up the phone and bring an oil truck to a resident’s home.

The unlimited energy of the first selectman also helps.

Regular intensive workouts like weight lifting, intense aerobics and yoga allow for these high energy levels, Freda said.

They also help him keep up with work, which can get “hectic,” he said.

As chair of the executive committee of the South Central Regional Council of Government, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut Small Town Council, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Greater New Haven Transit District, Freda juggles with a long list of regional leadership positions.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda in his office at Town Hall on October 13, 2021.

North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda in his office at Town Hall on October 13, 2021.

Meghan Friedmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

The first selectman prides himself on being “on the ground”, especially in terms of economic development. He acts as the city’s director of economic development, he said, striving to bring businesses of all types to North Haven.

When Freda was sworn in as a selection man in 2007 by Estates Judge Michael Brandt, the judge said Freda brought “business acumen and people skills” to the post, the registry reported to the era.

When Freda won the first seat in 2009, he said after the polls closed: “I really enjoyed this experience until the end. I have an incredible passion for North Haven and its residents. I seek to unify, to galvanize North Haven.

His efforts have been praised over the years.

North Haven “is generating a lot of interest. I think that’s kind of what’s interesting, that the phone is busy here and Universal Drive is busy, ”said Ray Andrewsen, executive director of the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce in July.

Under Freda’s watch, the city managed to woo Amazon, which in 2019 opened a distribution center on Washington Avenue.

Ferraro’s Market, the popular Italian grocery store once based near Wooster Square in New Haven, moved earlier this year to a location on Universal Drive in North Haven.

Ferraro's New Meat Market in North Haven pictured on April 16, 2021.

Ferraro’s New Meat Market in North Haven pictured on April 16, 2021.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Photo Media File

These are two leading companies among many that have come to town.

But Freda doesn’t like to rest on her laurels. The fiercely competitive city executive says he’s always looking to the next goal.

Part of the reason Freda spends so much time on economic development, he said, is that keeping taxes stable amid rising costs is one of the city’s main challenges.

Under his watch, Freda noted, North Haven’s bond rating was upgraded to AAA.

The New Haven Registry asked Freda to identify the three biggest issues facing North Haven. In addition to promoting economic stability, he named reckless driving and car break-ins.

When asked what he is doing to resolve these issues, he said four new officers have joined the police force.

“We hope we can improve our patrols,” he said.

North Haven has also invested in road signs that track rush hour and average speed, Freda said, indicating that the strategy allows the department to decide how to deploy the radar.

He hopes his experience and past convinces voters that he is the right man to take on such challenges.

“Being in office for 12 years has allowed me to develop an encyclopedic knowledge of the city,” he said.

Freda encouraged residents to come out to vote.

“I really hope people are excited about the local elections, including the one in North Haven, and stay engaged in their communities,” he said.

From left to right, Nick Casella, co-chair of the Italian Heritage Concert, Laura Florio Luzzi, chair of the Greater New Haven Italian American Heritage Committee, and North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda on North Haven Green on September 28, 2021 by a sign making the advertisement of the Italian Heritage Concert.

From left to right, Nick Casella, co-chair of the Italian Heritage Concert, Laura Florio Luzzi, chair of the Greater New Haven Italian American Heritage Committee, and North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda on North Haven Green on September 28, 2021 by a sign making the advertisement of the Italian Heritage Concert.

Arnold Gold / Hearst Connecticut Photo Media File

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