Interview: Mayor Maturo East Haven CT

Water Damage & Furnace Failure To The School
(During a Brutal New England Snow Storm)

Introduction (who I am):
I’m Mayor Joe Maturo of the Town of East Haven, I've been mayor 16 of the last 20 years. There was a little four-year interim in between where I was lost and came back. So it’s been 16 in the last 20 years and it’s the greatest shoreline town east of Mississippi is what I would call it.

I retired from the Fire Department and we were hanging around and having coffee in the morning and talking about national politics, you know, how we all do in the morning at the diners and somebody says, “Well, why don’t you get involved locally?”

And we made a bet and after three losses, here I am.

I lost my first three times out. So I was a little persistent. Believe it or not, with the help of John Giordano at that time, who helped convince me, who at that time was in the opposite party as I am.

He was a democrat, I was a republican.

John Giordano was the youngest state representative in the State of Connecticut at one time.

I knew John from school (as a kid).

John and I got along pretty good in school all through the years while we were growing up.

When John found out I had retired from the Fire Department, he had just left his position as state representative and he says, “You should get involved. It’s a great opportunity, especially at your age.” It was done on a bet with one of the other fireman and low and behold, I’m still in office and John’s out doing a good job with the insurance company. 

John and I had been friends for a long time.

Of course, coming into office and John having the political back ground he had as a State Rep, helped me. Like I said, although he was in a different party, he did give me a lot of insight into how to handle politics.

Make sure you pick and choose what battles you can win. Don’t take too much on your plate. Don’t try to win a battle and lose the war. Because you’re no good if you’re not in office, he used to tell me. Then you’re on the sidelines, you’re up in the stands, and nobody hears you. So pick and choose and know when to cross that line. So John has given me some good advice through my whole career as a politician.

Q -  Can you share a claim where John helped you?

With John being in the insurance business, of course running a municipality, there are always claims from our community.

We had a couple of serious claims with flooding in our schools

Two of our schools had some flooding problems.

In the middle of the night and on weekends, that’s when they always happen, when there’s nobody around. 

So knowing my relationship with John, knowing that he cares about the Town of East Haven, the first one I call of course would be John.

All my experiences with John on a professional level have been just as good on the professional level as they were socially, and on our personal friendship.

  • John always made sure that everything was done right
  • that everything was done on time
  • and that everything was done with budget

He’d call people in; our schools had to be opened because they didn’t happen in the summer time. Whenever there’s an emergency, it’s like your furnace going out.

Your furnace doesn’t go out in the summer time. You furnace goes out in the winter time, in January when there’s a snowstorm going outside.

And that’s the same thing that happened with our schools, when we had problems.

But John made sure that the schools were open as soon as they could be on that Monday morning.

Called other asset in to help clean up, suck up the water, take care of the damage and do the painting and do whatever had to be done, fixed the problem to make sure it’s done.

Throughout my 16 years on and off field for the last 20 like I said, whenever there was a claim, whether it was a roof problem, a flooding problem, no matter what happened in our community, me and my finance director who has a great amount of experience as a finance director in our town, they work side by side, the finance director and the adjuster side.

Once I turned it over to the adjuster, he works alongside with my finance director. He and Paul who’s our finance director got along great and Paul never had to come to me and say, “Mayor, we have a problem with the adjuster.” Everything got done and so my tribute to John is whenever I’m in trouble, call Johnny G. that’s the way it’s always been.

In fact, he had a place down the beach and he is the type of guy that he wouldn’t move to another and his  place down the beach was empty and he says, “Geez, why don’t you and your wife stay for a couple of weeks down at the beach to see how it is to live right on the shoreline?”

So Johnny lent me his house and we had a nice little vacation, my wife and I, down on Johnny G’s house sitting on the beach overlooking the water in our own little private beach, 50 foot beach in the front.

So he’s that type of guy. He’s always been that way. He’s always been a good supporter.

So my tribute to John is whenever I’m in trouble, call Johnny G. that’s the way it’s always been.Mayor Maturo

Johnny G is a friend of mine.

Interviewer: It sounds like you say that with a lot of value and emotion attached to it.

Mayor Maturo: Well, because we’ve been friends for so long. At our age now, John and I getting up there and we don’t have many friends who we’ve known and still hang around with back from our schooldays.

There are usually one or two guys you can count on that you still recall from your days of school; John and I are two of those guys.

Once in a while we’ll bounce around and bump into somebody else but John and I still live in town.

John and I still have a lot of contact with each other so it’s very seldom we will have a relationship as long as 50, 60 years like John and I have. That’s important. It doesn’t happen that often, especially with the movability of people today, who’s moving out of town, which’s moving out of state, who’s here, who’s there. John and I, no matter where we were, we always kept in touch.

We've  been together a long time It has been a long time and it’s been a good time.

Very seldom have John and I ever had any differences because he’s a loyal guy.

That’s another thing; you don’t count too many friends that you can say are loyal, when you need something you can go to.

John is just that type of guy and he’s funny. I don’t know if you’ve ever met John outside of business but John is a funny guy. We have a good time together.

We have a problem

Q - Interviewer: Tell me more about what experience you had from the phone call in the morning that said, “We have a problem”. And then what happened and what you did and how you got involved with John and what he did.

Well, I’m one of the first ones to get the call that there’s a problem.

If it’s the type of problem that John’s company can handle, I have John on my cell phone so my next move is to call Johnny G and say, “John, we got a problem over the School.

There’s water on the floor. It’s Saturday night, you got to get somebody over there.” After that phone call, I very seldom have to make another call to Johnny G. he usually calls me after that and says,

“Mayor, here’s what we are. Here’s who I have going over there. Don’t worry about a thing.” That’s basically how it happens with John.

He has a type of company where once you make that first call, you put the ball on his plate and then he takes over from there.

Next thing you know, he’ll be calling you up and telling you the job’s complete, the school is back in your hands, or the check is in the mail.

That’s what happens with John. That’s what type of company he runs.

He has good people working for him too. He has some good local people working for him, who I know them also.

So he’s got a very good staff, very loyal staff and they know what has to be done. That’s why his business is as successful as it is.

He’s got a very good staff, very loyal staff and they know what has to be done. Mayor Maturo

Anything else you would like to share with me that I haven’t asked?

That Johnny G... He loves his dog.

He had this little dog and all you’ll hear it talk about that dog all the time and when he lost the dog, it’s an experience for somebody to lose an animal. It’s like losing somebody close in your family.

I say that because as John feels about other people and as dedicated as he is to his daughters and his son, that’s how he was with his little dog.

He really cared about that animal and it was a tough time for us to go through as it is for any animal when we lose one.

But John and I stuck it out and now he has another dog. As everyone else, when they lose a pet, they get another pet and they love it.

That just shows the dedication he has to not only his family but to the things around him, whether it’s his dog or his beautiful car, that’s his little baby too.

He’s dedicated to everything he puts into his job.
He’s just a dedicated guy and that’s what makes it easy to stay friends with somebody for so long, that they’re dedicated and loyal.

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