Goldblatt settles into new role in Guilford

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
March 24, 2008

GUILFORD — Former Orange First Selectman Mitch Goldblatt was back to full-time government work this week, this time as Guilford’s new human resources director.

Former Human Resources Director Joyce Forte retired last month, but Goldblatt will be the first in the position to focus solely on human resources. Forte covered other responsibilities, including purchasing. Goldblatt will earn $75,000 a year.

Goldblatt, 50, served as first selectman in Orange from 1999 to 2005, and is still a member of the town’s Board of Selectmen. After two years working in real estate, he said, he was ready to return to a government setting.

“We didn’t have a human resources director in the town of Orange, so both the first selectman and the finance director served as human resources director,” he said. “It was one of the things I really enjoyed, and I saw this as not just an opportunity for me to go back into municipal government, but also an area I felt I had some expertise in.”

As human resources director, Goldblatt will oversee the town’s employees, dealing with union negotiations, family and sick leave, pensions, salaries and benefits and other personnel issues.

“If the employees don’t have to worry so much about their position, their benefits, etc. etc., hopefully they’ll spend less time worrying about that and more time one what they’re supposed to do,” he said.

First Selectman Carl Balestracci said that the town’s population growth prompted the decision to make human resources a stand-alone job.

Forte was in the position for about 15 years, he added.

“We took this time to reorganize because Guilford has grown a great deal in the last 15 years, and we wanted to have human resources director be a separate job,” Balestracci said. “We’re going to continue to do some reorganizing with purchasing and whatnot.”

Balestracci joked that Goldblatt will be the town’s “seventh selectman.” In addition to the five-member Board of Selectmen, Tax Collector Dolly Mezzetti is a selectwoman in Clinton.

“We’re just very, very pleased to have him,” Balestracci said. “He comes to us with a wealth of experience, and I think he’s a really good match for Guilford.”

Goldblatt said he thinks his continuing participation on Orange’s Board of Selectmen will be a bonus in his new position. He lives in Orange, where he grew up, with his wife and two children.

“I hope to bring things that are going on in Orange to Guilford and things that are going on in Guilford to Orange,” he said. “There are things that I’ll learn here that can help in my role in Orange and possibly (things) that we’re doing in Orange that I can bring here.”

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