Retirement party looks back on Kellogg’s 6 years as Monroe’s first selectman

A changing of the guard: Monroe First Selectman Terry Rooney, left, with his predecessor Ken Kellogg, who led the town for six years.

Public officials reflected on Ken Kellogg’s life, as well as his six years as Monroe’s first selectman during a retirement celebration at Whitney Farms Golf Club Friday evening. Aside from reminiscing about his careful attention to detail in putting processes in place at Town Hall, guests heard about his time as a volunteer paramedic in Stratford and even his starring role as Daddy Warbucks in a church production of “Anne”.

Monroe Republican Town Committee Chairman Ryan Condon and Vice Chair Dona Lyn-Wales presented Kellogg with a Google map of Monroe lasered into wood that was placed in a frame. A star on the map is where Kellogg’s house is located and a flag represents Town Hall.

The former first selectman also received a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly in recognition of his years of service from State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21st) and State Rep. Tony Scott (R-Monroe).

When he spoke at the podium, Kellogg fondly recalled working as a team with officers and board members while crafting annual budgets, striving to make Monroe business friendly, guiding residents through a pandemic and through periods of prolonged power outages from major storms.

Ken Kellogg poses for a photo by his cake.

“As challenging as this job has been for me, it’s been incredibly rewarding,” he said, “and when I look back, I’d like to think I’ve been part of a great team that made a positive impact for our great town. It’s been an absolute pleasure and honor to have been your first selectman.”

Kellogg admitted he could be difficult to work for at times and thanked town employees for working hard to reach the high standards he sought for the town. He also thanked his wife, Mary, daughter Abby and son Sam for putting up with constant disruptions at dinners and on vacations.

“Thank you for the love and support and guidance you’ve given me,” he said to his wife. “I love you so much.”

Kellogg praised Town Attorney Frank Lieto for the legal guidance he provided after the tragic loss of his first town attorney, Jeremy Hayden, as well as Finance Director Ronald Bunovsky Jr., Assistant Director of Municipal Finance Heidi Meade, the Board of Finance, Town Council, Board of Education Chairman David Ferris, public safety officials, public works, state representatives and Superintendent of Schools Joseph Kobza to name a few.

Ken Kellogg with his wife, Mary.

He also thanked former town planner Rick Schultz, the Planning and Zoning Commission and other boards and commissions.

“Turning Monroe from a town that told businesses, ‘we don’t allow that here’ to a town that says, ‘welcome to Monroe,’ was not easy or simple and I’m very thankful to people who helped me keep Monroe focused on solutions instead of trying to find obstacles,” Kellogg said.

“We’ve seen the fruits of that,” he said. “We’ve had development. We’ve seen so many great businesses coming still, like Aldi and Starbucks and Testo’s,” he added of the popular Italian restaurant that wants to move into the building that housed Roberto’s.

“Trader Joe’s was also very interested, but we told them no we’re saving that space for pizza places and nail salons,” Kellogg joked.

A changing of the guard

Aside from a farewell and thank you to Ken Kellogg for his leadership over the past six years, Friday night was about a changing of the guard from Kellogg to Monroe’s new First Selectman Terry Rooney.

Kellogg said he had worked closely with Rooney when he served on Town Council.

First Selectman Terry Rooney, center, listens to Kellogg speak.

“We joke about how we’re different in a lot of ways,” Kellogg said. “I’d be on the phone with him about some Town Council matter and he’s working outside. He’s carrying roofing material up a ladder, on the phone with me at the same time. And here I am, an out of shape ex-corporate guy who just loves a great spreadsheet.”

“Terry will tell you he’s not tech-savvy, as he has, and doesn’t look forward to crafting a Powerpoint presentation,” Kellogg said. “But let me tell you, Terry’s a sharp guy. He cares a lot about people and he gets the job done.”

Kellogg told Rooney he is forever grateful for his work chairing the building committee for the Monroe Volunteer EMS headquarters on Jockey Hollow Road, while also serving as the “boots on the ground,” making sure everything was done right.

Rooney praised Kellogg for the processes he left in place at Town Hall and the quality of the staff he put together.

“The precedent you set at Town Hall will probably live on for decades,” Rooney said. “Fifty years from now, the first selectman will probably look at the paperwork and not know that Ken Kellogg did that, but it’s your work and thank you.”

Many tributes

Former state representative J.P. Sredzinski, left, with, from left, State Rep. Tony Scott (R-Monroe), former first selectman Ken Kellogg and State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21st). Kelly and Scott presented Kellogg with a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly.

Kellogg sat at a table with his wife, Mary, and two grown children, daughter Abby and son Sam, in the dining room, which was filled with town officials and employees, Monroe Rotary Club members, public safety personnel and notable people in the Republican Party.

Condon and Lyn-Wales read letters aloud from those who could not make the dinner, but who wanted to send their tributes: Schultz, former first selectman Steve Vavrek, and former Trumbull first selectman Ken Halaby.

J.P. Sredzinski, who had served as Monroe’s state representative, emceed the event, which was attended by Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick.

“I first met Ken Kellogg on the ambulance in Stratford, in the basement of the police department where our headquarters was,” Sredzinski recalled.

Ken Kellogg, left, with his family, from left, wife Mary, daughter Abby and son Sam.

Sredzinski volunteered for the Stratford Volunteer Emergency Medical Service Association as a teenager in the ’90s and remembers Kellogg serving as a volunteer paramedic.

He said Kellogg didn’t have to volunteer, but wanted to serve his community, spending his Sundays on the ambulance, sometimes putting in 12 hour days.

Later in life, when Sredzinski served on the Monroe Town Council, there was a vacancy and he immediately thought of his old friend and asked Kellogg to serve. It was the start of Kellogg’s years in Monroe politics.

In 2017, Sredzinski said Kellogg was the first person party leaders thought of while looking for a first selectman candidate.

J.P. Sredzinski, left, Monroe’s former state representative, shares a laugh with State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21st).

“Ken had a young family at the time,” Sredzinski said. “He did it for the community. He did it for the people of this town, because he cares about where he lives.”

Once Kellogg was elected, Sredzinski said he knew Kellogg “doesn’t do things halfway” and he would attend all of the meetings, work late and always invite people back to his office to discuss issues further.

Because of his medical background, Sredzinski said Kellogg was the best person to lead the town during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kellogg expressed his gratitude to all of the public safety officials and volunteers who set up the distribution of COVID tests and ran vaccine clinics.

“When the first handful of cases were reported, people in town were demanding to know details about the patients, their exact age, their gender, what street they lived on, where they worked, where they shopped, had they gone to Stop & Shop or Big Y and, if so, what aisle were they in and when?” Kellogg joked.

State Rep. Tony Scott (R-Monroe), right, and his wife Jenn, center, mingle with Emanuela Sredzinski at Ken Kellogg’s retirement dinner at Whitney Farms Golf Club Friday.

Scott also praised Kellogg for his guidance through the pandemic and for the processes he put in place at Monroe Town Hall. “The foundation you have laid now will also pay dividends in the future,” he said.

Kelly knew Kellogg years before he was a senator, when both men lived in Stratford. He said Kellogg was “Big Daddy Warbucks” in St. Mark’s Church’s production of “Annie” and later served on the Stratford Town Committee.

“Ken is just one of the most genuine, giving, honest individuals you can come across,” Kelly said. “He’s a person who gives — gives beyond himself, because he cares, not only about his family and his neighborhood, but the community in which he lives, whether that’s the church, whether that was EMS, whether it’s being involved in politics, he cares and recognizes that we are our brother’s keeper and we need to live beyond ourselves because there are people in need and he’s always answered the call.”

Kelly called Kellogg one of the most thorough and diligent individuals he has ever come across.

“You’ve been a fantastic public servant,” Kelly said. “You’ve gone above and beyond, but more importantly, you’re an outstanding and a quality human being.”

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

The Monroe Sun covers all of the news of Monroe, CT

Follow Us

© Copyright 2023, The Monroe Sun LLC