NORWALK -- Norwalk residents and city officials came together on the City Hall lawn for a chance to meet the new city manager on Tuesday.
Jesus M. Gomez officially assumed the position of city manager on Feb. 1, after previous city manager Mike Egan was abruptly fired in September without explanation.
Tuesday’s meet-and-greet event was the first opportunity for many residents, city officials and staff, and region-wide officials to get up close and personal with Gomez.
“We have a lot of expectations in this community,” said Mayor Luigi Vernola, addressing the crowd. “We’ve made a change in our direction, and at the helm we have Jesus Gomez.
“Jesus has done a lot in his short career…he is a very, very knowledgeable young man; economic development, public safety, and a whole host of other things, finance, public works – he understands things. He’s the right man for the right job.”
Gomez also addressed the crowd briefly, introducing his family and alluding to future “great opportunities.”
“I want to thank the mayor and city council profoundly for giving me an opportunity to come to the city and help them with their vision,” said Gomez. “Their vision is complex; we have lots of work ahead of us, and I’m very glad to see a lot of the partners here that we will need to accomplish the goals and the objectives that the council has begun to set forward.”
When asked specifically what the “change in direction” and “vision” was, Gomez highlighted public safety, infrastructure and economic development.
Gomez said that these “were in no specific order and equally important,” but when asked what he believed was the greatest needs for the community at the moment, Gomez emphasized public safety.
“I think the first thing is we need to address public safety and help the community feel safer,” said Gomez. “Our first, immediate goal is to be able to do that, to address some of the issues that are happening at the shopping centers, some of the homeless encampments, some of the homeless at [the] parks.
"We’re addressing that; that’s immediate and we’ve already started doing that.”
By Alex Dominguez, staff writer