Scores of Granby residents and town hall staff gathered at Holcomb Farm’s North Barn to help former Community Development Director Fran Armentano celebrate his retirement.
Surrounded by his parents, family and friends, Armentano received rounds of praise for his 32 years of devoted work for the community.
Former Town Manager Bill Smith, noting that Armentano was his right-hand man in myriad aspects of town government, praised his grant-writing ability and planning skills that resulted in saving the town millions of dollars over the years. In addition to his professional skills, Smith said, Armentano wore many hats: cyclist, mechanic, builder, gardener, chef and civic-minded volunteer. Smith noted, “He is a loving husband, father and grandfather, and cares deeply for his neighbors and friends.”
Former Town Engineer Ed Sweeny had words of praise for Armentano, as did Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Paula Johnson, who said that although she appreciated his patience, understanding, innovation in problem solving and creative vision, it was his friendship that would leave the most lasting impression.
Building official Bill Volovski has worked for several town planners and said that Armentano’s dedication and work ethic were above all others he had known. “His love for Granby is second to none.”
Current Town Manager John Ward said that in his early days on the job, when he would ask, “Who takes care of this?” the answer was always “Fran.” He was impressed with Armentano’s intelligence, skill with people and passion for Granby. During his 32 years on the job, there was an 8 percent increase in the grand list.
Armentano received proclamations of recognition from Ward for the Board of Selectmen and Bill Simanski for the Connecticut General Assembly.
Lead by Armentano’s wife, Lori, the family used a slide show to illustrate all the aspects of his life. In thanking the crowd gathered, Armentano said that there may have been some trying times in his 32 years of work, but he really loved every minute. He acknowledged the competency of the town hall staff and the dedication of all the residents who volunteer to serve on boards and commissions. In particular, he noted that “all the innovation in the world goes nowhere unless the people at the top are willing to take a chance.” He said that his success was greatly enhanced by former manager Smith’s approval and enthusiasm in responding to his ideas.