From establishing a municipal recovery portal to providing local ticket distribution logistics for special Yankee and Red Sox games dedicated to Newtown, a trio of loaned executives from GE Capital took on a slew of assignments too intensive for local officials to appropriately handle with skill and efficiency.
Arriving in early March to help with added post-12/14 responsibilities, Anne Alzapiedi, Newtown resident Tom Kelleher, and Elizabeth Rallo updated the Board of Selectmen June 3 on how they individually and collectively accomplished a variety of tasks and assignments during their first three months in town.
Mr Kelleher’s primary area of focus was to work with Selectman James Gaston, Sr, and other volunteers identifying and managing information about the proliferation of funds and fundraising efforts being mounted in the wake of the tragic school shootings.
Mr Kelleher told selectmen he is working with Connecticut’s attorney general’s office to identify, keep or remove related charities from a referral database maintained but not endorsed by the town.
He said his goal was to return any calls with questions or concerns about charities, as well as from prospective donors, within 24 hours. Among his other tasks were to develop and maintain an electronic archive solution to document charity information for at least the next five years.
Mr Kelleher also works on advising various fund administrators about consolidation opportunities, as well as the Board of Education team managing designated Sandy Hook School donations.
“I’m helping to connect donors to specific opportunities to give,” he said.
Ms Rallo discussed her role in implementing a FEMA-developed management tool called Aid Matrix for donations management. And while she said the digital system was designed for communities experiencing natural disasters like floods, there was much to draw from it to assist Newtown post 12/14.
She is working with other volunteers now assigning more than 1,500 offers of goods and services, as well as documenting, cataloging, tracking, and disbursing donations.
Ms Alzapiedi and Ms Rallo worked together throughout the Sandy Hook School Task Force decisionmaking process tied to selecting a school facility rebuilding site, including being on hand for a series of Friday night task force meetings leading up to the panel’s final decision.
Following that decision, the pair crafted a question and answer document available to the public encapsulating steps and actions during the 20-plus-hour series of meetings.
Ms Alzapiedi also took the lead on coordinating public communications criteria for the first selectman’s office, along with advising on and facilitating community problem solving. She helped First Selectman Pat Llodra develop a communications policy, helped plan speaking appearances, social media training, and the development of a blog for the first selectman.
The GE Capital exec, in addition, ran point on establishing onenewtown.org, the new support and information portal designed to complement and be linked to the town’s “official business” website. Ms Alzapiedi said it was important to establish a separate destination for those specifically looking for post-12/14 information, support services, and other details.
She and a team of IT professionals on the GE Capital User Experience team in Michigan helped design the site along with Microsoft and their partner Adxstudio, which donated the portal platform, cloud services, and development work.
In addition, Ms Alzapiedi has been hard at work supporting the development of a permanent memorial commission to coordinate activities and donations that will be part of any community-based permanent memorial or memorials commemorating 12/14.
She is also looking toward next December with plans to identify and prepare for one-year anniversary memorials, tributes, and another expected “media surge.”
Mrs Llodra said that post 12/14, Newtown was simply not equipped either logistically or staffwise to begin handling the overwhelming amount responsibilities facing municipal staffers and systems. And she admitted that without the assistance of the GE team, many of the items they detailed having already accomplished may not have even begun.
“We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish these things without you,” Mrs Llodra said.