After 51 years of service, Joseph Carino reflects on South Windsor

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Feb. 6, 2013
Joseph Carino has resigned after 51 years of serving the town of South Windsor. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.
Joseph Carino has resigned after 51 years of serving the town of South Windsor. Photo by Christian Mysliwiec.

When the members of the Town Council accepted the resignation of Joseph Carino from the Economic Development Commission and the Water Pollution Control Authority on Tuesday, Jan. 22, they could not speak more highly of him. It's easy to see why. With 51 years of service on various boards and commissions and a deep appreciation for the people he has worked with, Carino has always been guided by an old South Windsor motto: “One town, one future.”

A native to New Britain, Carino entered the United States Air Force in 1942. During World War II, he served as a bombardier instructor in Washington state. He taught bombardiers how to use the Norden bombsight, which at the time was highly sophisticated and accurate technology. “It was the latest and greatest in bombing technique,” he said.

When his service ended in 1945, he spent four years at the University of Connecticut studying engineering. After graduating in 1950, he received a letter from United Technologies saying they were interested in his expertise. Thus began Carino's 40-year career working at Pratt & Whitney. He retired in 1990 from a head position in the quality assurance department.

Early in his career, he decided to bring his family from Willimantic to South Windsor. Choosing a property on Ellington Road, where the closest thing to traffic were farm trucks carting tobacco and potatoes, he built a house himself (except the bricks, roof and plaster, he said). His goal was to not only provide a good house for his family, but a home, and that included the hometown. “If I was going to live here and raise my family here, I wanted to be sure that this was a good town,” he said. Carino started paying attention to what was happening on a town-wide level.

“In 1957 and 1958, we had a big splurge in housing,” he said. “In 1958, we built more than 260 houses in this town.” With expansion happening at an alarming rate, Carino began attending town meetings. South Windsor had a selectman style of government at the time – the last first selectman, John D. Madden, would become the first mayor. When the second selectman, Dexter Burnham, said, “Gee, Joe, you're the only one who comes to our meetings,” Carino decided to take an active role in town government.

He was elected to the Planning and Zoning Commission in 1961. “I was on that for about 11 years, and was chairman for eight of those 11 years,” he said. He and the commission developed the first Plan of Development for the town of South Windsor. Later, he was appointed to various boards and commissions, including the Economic Development Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. He became heavily involved in the Water Pollution Control Authority as a member of the sewer commission, a position he held until the end of 2012.

“I felt that we needed to be sure that this rapid development wouldn't create new problems for a new town,” he said. “For example, we didn't have sewers at that time. When you start to develop a town with 250 new houses on half-acre lots, septic systems are not going to work.” While it may not have been glamorous – Carino wasn't in it for the politics or publicity – he worked hard on sewer projects, which was his contribution to accommodating growth. “That's what motivated me, finding out what we need to handle this rapid growth,” he said. When the Plan of Development was finished, his next project was promoting commercial and industrial growth in town, which introduced him to the Economic Development Commission.

Back problems and hearing loss forced Carino to step down from his positions at the end of 2012. He now enjoys “taking it easy” with family.

While there are many things he will miss, he leaves public service with many fond memories. “It was an enjoyable period working for the town,” he said. His warmest memories are with the town staff. In his many roles, he had often worked with staff members, be it securing permits and licenses or simply getting more information about a particular issue. He was always impressed by how cooperative, helpful and kind they were.

He gives a lot of credit to the town manager, Matthew Galligan, who keeps tabs on everything that's happening in town. He also applauds Michael Gantick, director of Public Works, and the people who made the cooperation between the sewer commission and the Water Pollution Control Facility so seamless. The staff, whom he admires so much, also receive his applause. Because staff are so specialized, it takes a lot of cooperation between departments to get things done, and Carino has always been happy with how the close-knit organization works.

“That's why we developed that motto, 'One town, one future,'” he said. “This is what's making the town a success: people working together.”

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