Barbara Strother is retiring from the Town of Groton as its Economic Development specialist at the end of December, after almost three decades. Groton Town Manager, Mark Oefinger, announced her retirement party at the Special Town Council Meeting recently and an announcement had also been made previously in Groton PATCH.
I congratulate Ms. Strother on her long-time service to Groton in a very important function for the growth and economic stability for our Town. Obviously, her knowledge and expertise will be missed. Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for her to assist her successor in order to effect a seamless transition.
Under the circumstances, it is imperative that her successor be a person who is already completely trained and experienced in this line of work, with a proven track record in economic development in a municipal setting similar to, or larger, than Groton. This person should be brought on board as soon as possible during December 2012.
The Town needs an aggressive and very competent person in this position, in light of the downward financial spiral Groton is facing. Pfizer does not have much more then a skeleton crew compared to their number of employees and activity just a few years ago. Additionally, Electric Boat has moved their Engineer group over to the brand new buildings in New London that were initially built for Pfizer. EB will be tearing down buildings as well as Pfizer.
As we know, Pfizer already has permits to raise 180,000,000 square feet of building space come January of 2013. That should equal approximately $2.4 million in tax revenue loss just from the loss of buildings alone, not including any of the taxable equipment.
As a Groton citizen who has observed Town affairs for the past several years, I encourage the Groton Town Council to have the Town Manager market this critical position for the best qualified candidates as soon as possible.
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