New Democratic-controlled Groton Town Council sworn in

Groton - The Groton Town Council was sworn into office Tuesday, including four new members, and councilors unanimously elected Democrat Rita M. Schmidt as mayor.

Democrats won a majority on the council for the first time in 30 years during last month's elections.

"We will go forward," Schmidt told her colleagues and an audience of about 30 in the Town Hall Annex. "And we will grow the Groton economy in these very difficult times."

Democrats Genevieve Cerf, Bob Frink, Rich Moravsik and Joe de la Cruz are new on the council. Schmidt and Republicans Heather Bond Somers, Harry Watson, Deborah Peruzzotti and Bruce Flax were re-elected. Peruzzotti was absent Tuesday but will attend the meeting next week.

Schmidt said her goal as mayor is to boost economic development, and she believes leading the council will be easier than people think, because all have the town's best interest at heart.

Frink, who served on the Economic Development Commission, said his goal is to create economic diversity so Groton is less dependent on major employers.

"Spread the jobs out and spread the earnings out, so if you lose one, you don't lose a lot," he said.

De la Cruz, a sheet metal worker at the metal fabrication shop Hillery Co., said his goal is to spend "smarter" because he knows there will be difficult budget times ahead.

"The biggest goal is to bring business back," he said. "Make Thames Street full."

Moravsik, a certified engineer with the state, said he plans to look at the town's capital projects with the eyes of a manager.

He said his intention is to "look for ways of saving, reducing the scope of work that might not be necessary, and help define (a project) if I'm asked to."

Cerf, an electrical engineer, said she wants to focus on the use of technology in town. She believes it could be used to make government more efficient and become a tool in areas like payroll and project management, she said.

d.straszheim@theday.com

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